Before you grab the garden shears and start trimming away, there’s a few things wildlife experts want you to know about these tiny nests.
In a Facebook post from May 2016 that was shared over 265,317 times, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service warned people to keep a close eye out for hummingbird nests.
The message went up online with a spectacular photo of a hummingbird nest in the wild.
The image, attributed to a photographer named Kelly Campbell, is a delicate portrait of an almost impossibly tiny bird’s nest caught in the branches of an evergreen.
Hummingbirds like to nest in well-maintained gardens, especially if it’s one filled with brightly colored, nectar-filled flowers and fountains, but they will ultimately build in any type of environment. (Watch out for nests in gutters, kitchen fan vents, and near front doors, too, say U.S Fish & Wildlife Service experts.) Some hummingbirds will also disguise their nests with moss, leaves, and lichen—a great strategy when it comes to predators, but not so great when it comes to garden shear-wielding homeowners.
Since honey bees are on the decline, hummingbirds are another reliable source of pollination in your yard. So if you have a sweet flower garden, you may have some perennial tenants that you didn’t even know about, but could desperately use to have around. So look before you cut!
The USFWS also added a few powerful words about what to do if you happen to find one of these nests out in nature.
They write: “Hummingbird eggs are tiny, about the size of jelly beans! Please remember to carefully check for nests before you trim trees and shrubs.”
Their warning is important for all of us, since hummingbirds live all throughout America. Whether you’re a homeowner or a city-dweller, you always have an opportunity to stumble upon a nesting ground when you’re outside.
Hummingbirds can live all the way down in Chile and also make their way up to Alaska! These tough, little birds nest wherever they can. They’re especially fond of building their homes in gardens.
If you have your own garden, it’s likely that you maintain it to admire the beautiful flora and fauna. Hummingbirds will be drawn to any garden with vibrant plants, bird feeders, and birdbaths. Gardens are a dream home for hummingbirds, so don’t be surprised if one settles in and starts a family!
So, if you live in the Americas, make sure you’re taking a close look at your garden before you do too much pruning or weed whacking.