Hummingbirds usually nest in small trees and shrubs.
Hummingbirds are small, colorful birds known for their ability to hover in mid-air. They are territorial when it comes to nesting and feeding grounds.
Their nests, which are about the size of a walnut, are meticulously built on the branches of tall trees or shrubs.
The type of tree can differ depending on the species and their geographical location.
For instance, Anna’s hummingbirds are known to nest in oak trees, whereas Rufous Hummingbirds might choose spruce or pine.
Hummingbirds are a marvel of nature with their vibrant colors and unique ability to hover.
When it comes to nesting, they show an extraordinary preference for specific types of trees.
They typically choose tall trees or shrubs, like oak, hornbeam, birch, poplar, hackberry, pine, spruce, and fir, providing them with ample cover and
10 Tree Types: Preferred Nests of Hummingbirds
|Tree Type||Frequency of Use by Hummingbirds|
Five Facts About: Trees Preferred by Hummingbirds for Nesting
These smaller trees and shrubs protect the hummingbird nests from predators, and provide them with plenty of food and water sources.
Hummingbirds favor smaller trees and shrubs that offer dense foliage for shelter and a closer distance to food and water sources.
Tree and shrub species may vary by region, but many hummingbirds’ nesting preferences are the same throughout the United States.
What Types of Trees Do Hummingbirds Prefer to Nest In?
Hummingbirds prefer to nest in trees that have dense foliage to provide them with protection from predators and a place to hide. Some of the trees that hummingbirds prefer include pine, spruce, fir, deciduous, willow, cypress, and citrus trees.
Other preferred trees include fruit trees such as apple, cherry, apricot, plum, or pear.
1. Oak trees
Oak trees are a type of tree that hummingbirds may prefer to nest in due to their wide, sprawling branches that offer plenty of coverage and protection for a nest.
- Oaks are considered vigorous trees, with many of them growing extremely large and providing a large, shady canopy for both nesting and foraging.
- The leaves of oak trees typically feature lobed edges, are dark green, and often filled with star-shaped tufts of fuzz.
- Oaks typically grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 3 to 9, and can be found in a wide range of habitats from barren deserts to lush forests.
2. Poplar trees
Poplar trees are deciduous trees found throughout the northern temperate regions of the world. They grow to about 50–80 feet in height and have a straight, narrow trunk that can reach three to five feet in diameter.
- The bark is silvery-gray in color and can often be seen covered with characteristic diamond shaped leaf scars.
- The Poplar tree’s leaves are alternately arranged, oval-shaped with a pointed tip, and have a smooth, light green appearance with a serrated margin.
- The small, green-yellow flowers appear on the tips of the branches in late spring and early summer, and the catkins that follow provide a food source for many species of birds.
- Poplar trees provide nesting and perching sites for numerous species of birds, in particular, hummingbirds.
3. Maple trees
Maple trees are deciduous trees that typically grow between 45 and 70 feet tall, with a wide spreading canopy of thick foliage.
They produce small, paired leaves with a simple, smooth-edged blade and palmate venation, and they produce clusters of tiny, five-pointed, red flowers in the early spring.
- The female flower produces a seed in the form of a samara—a boat-shaped structure with a single seed at the center surrounded by a papery wing.
- These maple tree seeds are a popular food source for birds, including hummingbirds. Maple trees are shade tolerant and grow in a wide range of soil types, making them a popular choice for many yards and parks.
- They have a wide habitat range, spanning from Eastern Canada and the Northeastern United States to as far as Texas in the United States, as well as parts of Japan and Mexico.
4. Pine trees
Pine trees typically feature long needles, often with tufts of five or more needles.
They prefer sandy, acidic soils and are typically found in regions with cooler temperatures, often near the coast or in high elevations.
- They prefer open, sunny areas with high light levels and good air circulation.
- They can be found in throughout North America, ranging from boreal forests in Canada to the high elevations of the Rockies in the United States, and even as far south as Mexico and Central America.
5. Fir trees
Fir trees are a type of coniferous tree that grow in temperate and boreal regions around the world.
They typically have needle-like leaves arranged in spirals around their stems, and they produce cones.
- The thin, papery scales of the cone protect seeds from the cold and provide a secure place for hummingbirds to build their nests.
- Fir trees are generally taller than other conifers, and their branches can reach up to 20-30 meters in height. They are also fairly drought-resistant.
- The habitat range for fir trees includes moist temperate climates with cold winters, as well as wetter, cooler boreal regions.
6. Spruce trees
Spruce trees are coniferous evergreen trees that grow in a wide range of habitats, including temperate and boreal forests, woodlands, and tundra.
Typically, they are tall and pyramidal in shape, with a single straight trunk and multi-branched crown.
- Key characteristics of spruce include their dense, conical shaped foliage and needle shaped leaves.
- They generally prefer moist, well-drained soils, medium-light levels and cooler climates.
- In terms of hummingbird nesting habitat, spruce trees can provide good cover and choices of higher branches for spot-building.
- However, there is a lack of available flowers for forage in the vicinity, so spruce trees may not be an ideal nesting tree for hummingbirds.
7. Apple trees
Apple trees are a favorite of hummingbirds due to the abundance of pollinators and food sources they attract. Apple trees are also taller than other tree species, making them a more preferred option for nesting.
8. Cherry trees
Cherry trees are typically grown in temperate climates, with a range extending from North America down to the Southern Hemisphere.
They are prized for their showy flowers, fruits and bright foliage, as well as their ability to attract wildlife, especially hummingbirds.
- The trees have a hard wood, making them great for shade, wind-break and erosion control.
- The flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds, and the tree’s dense structure is ideal for a nest site.
- Cherry trees can be found in temperate and tropical regions in areas where temperatures are not extreme and the precipitation is consistent.
9. Palm trees
Hummingbirds prefer to nest in palm trees due to their sturdy branches and large leaves, which provide protection and camouflage for their nests.
Palm trees also tend to have good light exposure and plenty of nectar-producing flowers which attract hummingbirds.
- They have large branches that forks or knots can form within, making it easy to construct nests.
- The leaves are long and thin, creating a canopy for the nest to remain safely hidden. Palm trees are often seen as suitable for its warm and humid habitat, which is ideal for hummingbirds.
- They are typically found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world, such as parts of South America, Central America, Africa, the Caribbean, and even parts of the US and Asia.
10. Mesquite trees
Mesquite trees are a type of hardy desert trees, usually found in the American Southwest. They are tolerant to drought and can reach 40-50 feet in height.
- They have a feathery leaflike foliage, a deep-reaching root system, and bark that is rough and furrowed.
- They produce clusters of bean-like pods that provide a source of food for wildlife such as insects, birds, and mammals.
- Key characteristics vary depending on the species, but all mesquite trees typically have small evergreen leaves, white flowers and a hard, yellow-tinged wood.
- Habitat range includes deserts, grasslands and semi-arid regions.
11. Willow trees
Willow trees are deciduous trees that provide shelter, food, and nesting sites for hummingbirds.
They have spreading branches and narrow, leathery leaves with a silvery underside.
- Willows are found across temperate climates and provide plenty of flowers for hummingbirds to feed on, as well as bark for them to gnaw and tunnelling worms.
- Willows provide good cover for nesting sites and make an ideal habitat for hummingbirds. Their habitat range extends from the southeastern United States to Mexico, parts of South America, and the majority of Europe.
12. Cypress trees
Cypress trees are tall evergreens with sparsely distributed branches and cones at their tip.
These trees are preferred by hummingbirds because they provide a large canopy of shade and protection from predators.
- Also, the trunks of cypress trees often have cavities that can act as shelters for nesting birds.
- Cypress trees can be found in a variety of habitats, from moist swamps, bogs, and wetland areas, to wetter upland forests.
13. Citrus trees
Hummingbirds prefer to nest in trees that have branches open enough to offer easy access and cover, as well as flowers that supply the nectar they feed on.
- Trees commonly associated with hummingbird nesting are citrus trees, such as lemons and oranges, as well as trees within the Casuarina and Eucalyptus families.
- Citrus trees have long, slender trunks and branches that come off in angular rays, while Casuarina and Eucalyptus trees more dense and knobby.
- Citrus trees typically range across Mexico, the Mediterranean region, the Middle East, northern Africa, and some parts of Asia and Australia, while Casuarina trees grow mainly in Australia and the Southern United States, and Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia.
14. Apricot trees
Hummingbirds typically prefer to nest in trees that have small, dense canopy covers with many branches, such as the deciduous, evergreen, or coniferous species.
- They will also nest in shrubs and ferns. Apricot trees provide ideal nesting for hummingbirds because of their small, dense canopy and plentiful branches, as well as their heavily fragrant, tube-shaped flowers.
- Apricot trees are also fairly easy to care for, and they can produce edible fruit.
- Additionally, their habitat range is quite broad and they can be found in most temperate climates.
15. Pear trees
Pear trees are the ideal choice for hummingbirds to nest in, as the tree provides plenty of shade and the warm temperature of the tree provides favorable living conditions for the birds.
- The trees’ branches also provide some protection from animals and people. Pear trees produce small, waxy white flowers that produce sweet nectar.
- The leaves of pear trees are narrow and smooth. They grow in temperate climates, with most species adapted to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 8.
Hummingbirds need trees that have closed foliage, with plenty of branches and twigs for them to build their nests on as well as providing them with an abundance of insects and even berries near the nesting site.
They also need trees that are clustered together, so they can easily move from one tree to another without having to travel too far. Trees with open canopies don’t provide the protection they need and therefore they’ll likely avoid them.
What Do Hummingbirds Nest In?
Hummingbirds nest in a variety of places, including crevices in trees, shrubs, and flowerpots, as well as under eaves, decks, and porches.
Nests are typically made up of plant fibers, down, and spider webs, and can vary in size from a half-inch to two inches across.
Here are five things to consider when looking for a hummingbird nest:
- Location – Look for small, sheltered areas as hummingbirds prefer to build nests in spots that are close enough to food sources yet are well protected from the elements and predators.
- Size – A hummingbird nest is normally no larger than two inches across and is made up of small bits of plant material, cobwebs, and feathers securely woven together.
- Color – Hummingbird nests tend to blend in with their surroundings, so they are often gray, brown, or tan.
- Shape – Hummingbird nests are cup shaped and built in places where there is a natural pocket of support.
- Security – A well-made nest will be securely attached to its surroundings to provide chicks the best possible protection from predators and the elements.
What Are the Benefits of Nesting in Trees?
The main benefits of nesting in trees are the natural protection the trees provide against predators, the stable environment, and the ample food supply.
- Protection from predators – Trees offer a natural barrier to potential predators, allowing birds to build nests without the risk of being disturbed.
- Stable environment – Trees also provide birds a safe and stable environment in which to build their nests.
- Ample food supply – Since trees can provide a variety of food sources, nesting in trees provides birds with a consistent and reliable food supply.
- Shelter from inclement weather – Tree branches can provide shelter from extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, storms, and freezing temperatures.
- Migration – Some species of birds use trees as a safe and convenient place to stop and rest during migration.
- Less energy expenditure – Nesting in trees also allows birds to conserve energy by reducing the need for flight to find food.
- Conservation of energy – By being closer to food sources and avoiding extended flights, birds can conserve energy and can direct their energy towards other activities such as courtship and parenting.
- Availability of cavities – Cavities found in trees provide birds with a secure shelter, which offer protection from predation, temperature fluctuations, and inclement weather.
What Are the Challenges of Nesting in Trees?
Nesting in trees poses several challenges to birds.
These include predators reaching the nest, nest materials getting weathered and degraded, nests being too low or high up in the tree to efficiently regulate temperature, inadequate stable support for the nest, and finding a suitable location to build a nest.
The challenges of nesting in trees include:
- Predators reaching the nest: Predators, such as owls, squirrels, and hawks, can easily find and access nests built in trees.
- Nest materials may get weathered and degraded: Materials used for nesting, such as twigs, leaves, and other natural objects, may be adversely affected by weather elements, such as rain and snow.
- Nests may be too low or too high in the tree: Depending on the type of tree chosen for nesting, the nest may be too low or too high up in the tree to regulate temperature efficiently.
- Inadequate stable support for the nest: Sometimes, branches may not be sturdy enough to adequately support the nest.
- Finding a suitable location: It can be difficult to find a suitable tree to build the nest in an area with enough food and safe from predators.
- Limited resources: Trees may offer limited resources, such as nest materials, compared to other nest sites.
- Limited space: Trees may offer limited space, making it difficult to build larger nests.
What Are the Challenges of Different Nest Types?
The different nest types found among birds have different challenges associated with them, including those related to location, insulation, defense and size.
Below are the challenges of different nest types:
- Location: Nests must be located in a safe place, where predators and weather elements can’t easily reach them, but close enough to food sources, water, and shelters.
- Insulation: The nest must be able to maintain a comfortable temperature and protect the eggs and hatchlings from the sun, wind and rain.
- Defense: Nests in some species must be hidden from predators, while other species use size and shapes to protect the eggs.
- Size: Depending on the species, larger birds may be too large for small branches and cavities, while smaller birds may not be able to build large enough nests to accommodate their eggs and young.
- Materials: Depending on the species, different materials may be used to build the nest, such as sticks, leaves, mud, grass, or feathers. These can vary in availability and strength, which can determine the success of the nest.
- Construction time: For some species, building a nest can take anywhere from days to weeks, making it a tremendous challenge if the bird is unable to find the right resources in time to finish it before the eggs hatch.
FAQ of What Type Of Trees Do Hummingbirds Nest In?
What type of trees do hummingbirds prefer for nesting?
Hummingbirds typically prefer to nest in dense-foliaged, shrubby trees such as evergreen or conifer varieties, as well as citrus and other fruit trees.
Are there certain heights of trees that hummingbirds prefer for nesting?
Hummingbirds prefer to nest in shrubby trees with lower canopies that are usually 15 to 25 feet in height.
What types of foliage do hummingbirds look for when choosing a nesting tree?
Hummingbirds prefer dense foliage that will help camouflage the nest, so they typically look for trees with small, attractive leaves that they can build nests within.
What types of tree bark do hummingbirds prefer when building their nests?
Hummingbirds typically prefer rough-textured tree bark that is easy to hold onto and won’t slip, such as cedar or sycamore trees.
Hummingbirds often choose their nesting sites in small trees and shrubs that have dense foliage, such as weeping willow, mesquite, deciduous shrubs and pine trees.
The smaller trees and shrubs protect the nests and provide more direct access to food and water sources. Different regions will have different tree and shrub species, but the nesting preferences of hummingbirds remain the same across the US.