Is it okay to relocate a hummingbirds nest?

Is it okay to relocate a hummingbirds nest?

13 May, 2010 (03:10) | hummingbird nest | By: admin


Just outside my bedroom window is a tiny hummingbirds nest with two babies in it. The branch it rests on is beginning to sag and the nest is close to being almost on its side. I am afraid the babies will fall out, especially if it gets a little windy. If I move the nest someplace close will the mother be able to find it?

The chances of the chicks being abandoned by the mother due to your interference is a lot higher than the chance the babies will fall. The nest only needs to last a week or two at the most depending on how old the chicks are now, then they will spend a week or so being cared for by the mother away from the nest.
If you can prop or tie up the branch without bothering the mother, you could try this, but even that may disturb her enough to abandon the nest. You would need to wait for her to feed the chicks, then move fast before she comes back to feed again. You also don’t want to alert predators (including other songbirds) to the fact there is a nest there.
Your best option is to just keep close watch on it, and if the nest does tip enough that the chicks fall, replace them as quickly as possible (birds abandon their nests more from disturbance than they do from smell-unlike a mammal, most birds have a poor sense of smell).
If you are uncomfortable with waiting to see what happens, or the nest tips further, call your local wildlife agency and see if someone can come take a look at the nest.
(Part of my job includes responding to requests like this, and I’ve ended up rearing two sets of hummingbird chicks-which is HARD!).

Good luck!

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Comments

Comment from Zoe Ann Hinds
Time May 13, 2010 at 7:20 am

Do not relocate the hummingbird’s nest. It is illegal in the United States to hold a hummingbird, a hummingbird nest, a hummingbird egg, or any part of a hummingbird, nest, or egg, in any type of captivity in any way, shape, or form. This means that unless you have a valid permit, it is illegal to trap, band, hold, harass, or control any hummingbird or any part of the hummingbird, nest, or egg.

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Comment from KTDykes
Time May 13, 2010 at 8:43 am

I know little of hummingbirds. However, the generally best approach is to leave things as they are. Lots of birds desert nests that smell of human interference. They don’t discriminate with regards to positive or negative intentions. In many cases, moving a nest will result in dead babies. What’s certainly true is that the hummingbird knows far more about where to position a nest, than you or I will ever know on that subject. They’re professionals in that job.
References :

Comment from SWWIFL
Time May 13, 2010 at 9:33 am

The chances of the chicks being abandoned by the mother due to your interference is a lot higher than the chance the babies will fall. The nest only needs to last a week or two at the most depending on how old the chicks are now, then they will spend a week or so being cared for by the mother away from the nest.
If you can prop or tie up the branch without bothering the mother, you could try this, but even that may disturb her enough to abandon the nest. You would need to wait for her to feed the chicks, then move fast before she comes back to feed again. You also don’t want to alert predators (including other songbirds) to the fact there is a nest there.
Your best option is to just keep close watch on it, and if the nest does tip enough that the chicks fall, replace them as quickly as possible (birds abandon their nests more from disturbance than they do from smell-unlike a mammal, most birds have a poor sense of smell).
If you are uncomfortable with waiting to see what happens, or the nest tips further, call your local wildlife agency and see if someone can come take a look at the nest.
(Part of my job includes responding to requests like this, and I’ve ended up rearing two sets of hummingbird chicks-which is HARD!).

Good luck!
References :
Wildlife biologist

Comment from birdgirl
Time May 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

No, do NOT move it..but you can certainly repair the branch that is sagging by getting some thread or wire and using that tie it upright again. You would definitely end up destroying the nest by moving it and it would be illegal as well. Hopefully the chicks will be leaving the nest soon before they fall out, they may only have a short amount of time left to stay. Birds do not abandon nests due to humans touching them or smell..this is an old wives tale. They can abandon due to continuous disturbance at the nest, so just doing a quick repair should be fine if you wait until the mother is away. However, if the babies are very close to leaving the nest, you may end up "force fledging" them if they are able to jump at this point. Also, the further along a nest is the less likely the parents would be to abandon. A nest at eggs stage would be more easily abandoned than one at chick stage. Abandonment at chick stage is HIGHLY unlikely.
References :
me: ornithologist who monitors nests for a living.

Comment from debi adams
Time September 7, 2017 at 6:18 am

A man in my apt complex has taken three that I know about, hummingbirds nests with eggs. Can something be done about this. He’s destroying the birds. I mentioned it is against the law but he continues

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