Friday, June 02, 2006

Bird gestation periods and other stuff

My post about "What brings you here?" actually brought more people looking for bird gestation periods. Google is sending people by the dozens who are looking for "hummingbird gestation period," "cardinal gestation period," "house wren gestation period," and so on. To those who have come here for that information, let me offer these notes.
  • The black-chinned hummingbird gestation (incubation) period is about two weeks.
  • From what I've been able to find on the Internet, cardinal eggs hatch after 11 to 13 days, house wrens hatch after 13 or 14 days.
  • I've found it more productive to search for "incubation period" than "gestation period." Like I said below, I made the same mistake myself when I first wrote about the hummingbirds in my yard, so please don't think I'm criticizing! Just learning from my own mistakes.
  • A great source for information about wild birds is Cornell's All About Birds web site.
In other bird news, I just bought a pair of hummingbird houses from Dan and Diane True. They came in the mail today. I haven't yet put them up, but I have high hopes. I think there will have to be a negotiation with Paul about where to locate these nest platforms. I want to install one under the patio roof, next to a supporting column that blocks the wind. That just happens to be right over where our grill lives, though, so a hummingbird nest would curtail our grilling activities. Of course, we could move the grill, but Paul's a little set in his ways. We shall see if he goes for this.

Along with the hummingbird houses, I also bought the Trues' hummingbird DVD. Amazing! It's fascinating to watch the nest building process and there's even video of a mother hummingbird laying an egg. I highly recommend the video to all hummingbird lovers.

In yet more bird news, the hooded oriole I wrote about back on April 17 has decided to hang around. In the last week I've seen both the male and a female on the hummingbird feeder. They've decided this is really an oriole feeder, except that the perches are too close to the feeding ports. They solve that problem by leaning around the bottle and drinking from the feeding port on the other side. While I applaud their ingenuity, I've decided to buy an oriole feeder just for them...and, of course, any friends and family they might have in the neighborhood.

While I wait for the feeder to be delivered, I've bought some oranges and have attempted to make them available to the orioles. My first attempt was to put a cut orange on a table on the patio. I watched the female oriole hang off the hummingbird feeder and examine the orange, but she made no attempt to fly to the table and claim her prize. It looked to me as if she were thinking, "Um, yeah. See, I know oranges, and oranges grow on trees. Oranges that are on a flat surface are rotten and have fallen off the tree. Get a clue."

So I got a clue. I have now tied an orange to that column I mentioned earlier. It's very near the hummingbird feeder, so the orioles can't miss it. I decided not to tie the orange to a tree because my trees seem to all be covered with ants. There wouldn't be any orange left for the orioles if the ants got there first. If the orioles turn their beaks up at the orange I've affixed to my house, I'm just going to eat the rest of the oranges myself and let the birds wait for the feeder. (That's not too terribly heartless of me since the feeder is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.) In the meantime, they don't seem to mind using the hummingbird feeder. The hummers mind, but the orioles don't.


At 6/08/2006 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, Believe it or not I found your site while looking for bird gestation periods. I have a fake plant on my front porch and a bird (no idea what kind) has made a nest and laid 5 eggs. So I am looking forward to the baby bird births. But then I continued with your blog and saw you like hummingbirds. I don't like other birds using my hummer feeder, so I took the perch off and took one of those flexible cutting board/sheet things, and cut a hole in it, and put it around the middle of the feeder so the birds can't feed, but the hummers can. And they have ant things that keep the ants off the feeder. You can buy them at home improvement stores, where the hummer feeders are. FYI.

At 6/11/2006 12:46 PM, Blogger Gwyn said...

Amy, I'm laughing at your bird incubation public service here!

Try putting grape jelly in a tray for your orioles. They'll come for that constantly, at least until the little ones hatch. Mine is still coming, so I'm guessing there hasn't been a hatch-out yet.

After that, they like mealworms. I have yet to delve into the mealworm feeding business, however.

At 11/28/2006 7:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the hummer info. We saw two mating yesterday and I was looking for gestation from google.I will check out the house.

At 4/11/2007 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a series of little chimes hanging along my patio outeredge. One of the chimes has woman's shoe as the main part. A hummingbird has taken ownership of it, built a nest in it and has laid two tiny eggs in it. She has been sitting on the eggs for a couple of weeks. I can't wait to see the babies after they hatch.

At 7/17/2007 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4/06/2008 6:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey amy this may be a bit weird but do you know the gestation period for a woodpecker? because i have been looking for it for a while no thanx-- JR

At 4/06/2008 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh i forgot if you need to look at any gestation periods i found a really good website its

have a look it tells you everything
------- J R------------

At 4/06/2008 10:56 AM, Blogger Amy said...

Hi, JR --

You've seen the extent of my knowledge of bird incubation periods, I'm afraid. It sounds like that other site you found will be much more helpful to you than I can be. Happy woodpecker watching!

At 4/15/2008 6:25 PM, Anonymous hcl35 said...

Hi Amy...I am actually searching the net because as I was entering my back door this evening, I noticed a bird egg in the cubby hole above the door where our transom window is located. I am trying to 1.) determine the name of the bird to which this egg might belong and 2) to determine how long it would take it to hatch if it were indeed still viable. Thanks for the suggestion- I will search incubation period next. Happy birding.....HCL

At 5/16/2008 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Amy, I have a nest of eggs in a fern on my patio. The eggs are small light cream colored with blue speckles on them. momma has been sitting on them close to two weeks i would say (sometimes momma & daddy are both in the nest). I wish i knew what kind of birds these are. I have put a thistle seed block in the tree they go to when they leave the nest but havent seen them eat from it. Me and my husband are so excited about the birth of the baby birds. Any suggestions on where to place food for them or when the eggs may hatch.

At 7/06/2008 5:45 PM, Anonymous Lori said...

Hi Amy, I have a hanging flower outside that a wren has made a nest in. The eggs have been in there for at least two weeks. I have no idea how I will water the plant when the babies hatch. Do you think I have disturbed the eggs by watering the plant?

At 7/27/2010 8:04 PM, Blogger cahrends said...

Hello Amy, the last two summers I had a wren build a nest outside my front door. The only way we could go in and out of the house but we tried to keep it as quiet5 as possible. Last summer we found one of the babies had dropped on the ground and died and the other had just disappeared.'

This summer we had a wren that laid three eggs in our artifial plant outside the front door again and they just hatched about 4 days ago. Today i noticed I hadnt seen the parents and I looked in the nest and their were no babies at all. What am I doing wrong. Is it too much of a traffic area. Are there other animals coming into the picture and eating the babies what do you think is going on?



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