How to Identify and Attract a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Male ruby-throated hummingbirds stand out with their green bodies and ruby red throats that sparkle in the sun. Even its green head sparkles!  The woman looks less magnificent.

The head is green with white underparts and black eye covers. Both sexes have shiny green backs. Their wingspan is 4 1/2 inches and they are 3 3/4 inches long.

Female ruby-throats travel constantly from midspring to late summer. She selects a nest site, constructs it, incubates eggs, and raises hummingbirds alone. The men are irrelevant. Her goal is to stay nourished!

The tiny fliers make a cup-shaped nest with moss, spiderwebs, and lichen. The female lays two jelly-bean-sized whitish eggs.

All juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds look like females, making identification difficult. About 15 days after hatching, baby hummingbirds stand on the nest edge and exercise their wings.

A few days later, they depart the nest. Fledglings can't feed themselves; hovering and drinking nectar need practice. While they learn to hunt food, the female feeds them for a week.

The acrobatic, territorial, and unpredictable activities of ruby-throated hummingbirds in your yard are always entertaining.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly between food sources. Because they consume energy while moving, they may eat two or three times their body weight (less than a penny) a day.

They eat tiny insects, honey, and tree sap. Give these tiny creatures sugar water and tube-shaped flowers in red, orange, and pink to attract them to your yard.