The Hummingbird is a small bird of the Trochilidae family.
Hummingbirds get their name from the humming sound produced from rapid movement of their wings, when they are in flight. Hummingbirds drink flower nectar, a sweet liquid found inside certain flowers. They will reject flower types that produce nectar that is less than 10% sugar and prefer those whose sugar content is stronger. You can attract hummingbirds to your garden by providing a hummingbird feeder filled with sugar water. Never use honey or artificial sweeteners in your feeder, honey ferments and artificial sweeteners have no food value. A simple nectar for your feeder is , 1 part white sugar with 4 parts hot water. Do not use red food coloring in your solution, as this could be harmful. To prevent rapid spoilage, boil the nectar for up to two minutes. COOL the mixture before adding it to the feeder. If you start feeding hummingbirds they will return to the same garden the following year.
- The Hummingbird is the world's smallest bird and also the smallest of all animals that have a backbone.
- Hummingbirds are the second largest family of birds with 343 species.
- Hummingbirds are found only in North and South America.
- A Gorget is the bright flashing colored feathers of the hummingbird's neck.
- Hummingbirds don’t spend all day flying; the majority of their activity consists simply of sitting or perching.
- Hummingbirds size ranges from the smallest (the Bee Hummingbird of Cuba that weighs about 2.2 grams), the largest (the Giant Hummingbird of South America that weighs about 20 grams). A penny weighs 2.5 grams.
- The hummingbird is so small, that an insect, the Praying Mantis is its natural enemy.
- The smallest bird on earth, is the Bee Hummingbird. With a length of only 2.25 inches, the Bee Hummingbird isn't much larger than a bee.
- The common Ruby-throated Hummingbird weighs about 3 grams. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are about 3 1/2 inches from the tip of their beaks to the tip of their tales.
- The female Ruby-throated hummingbirds are about 15 to 20% larger than the male Ruby-throated hummingbird.
- Most hummingbirds die during their first year but, those that do survive that first year have an average hummingbird life span of 3 to 4 years.
- Hummingbird can be found as far north as southeastern Alaska and the hummingbird range extends as far south as southern Chile.
- Hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly forward, backward, shift sideways and stop in mid-air.
- Percentage wise, the hummingbird has the largest brain of all birds (4.2% of its total body weight).
- An average hummingbird consumes half its weight in nectar each day.
- Hummingbirds feed 5 to 8 times every hour for 30 to 60 seconds at a time.
- A hummingbirds weight will almost double this amount as they put on fat in getting ready for migration.
- A large portion of a hummingbirds diet is sugar which they get from flower nectar and tree sap. Hummingbirds also eat insects and pollen to get protein to build muscle.
- Hummingbirds need to eat constantly. They can easily starve in as little as two to four hours. Overnight, hummingbirds don’t require as much energy. However, they generally have just enough energy to make it to the next meal in the morning.
- Hummingbirds can reach speeds up to 60 miles an hour. During courtship dives a hummingbird can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour and can average speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour.
- A courtship dive is an fancy display of flight performed by the male hummingbird at the start of the nesting season. The male hummingbird will climb high into the air (up to 60 feet) and dive towards the ground and forming a wide arc, climbs back into the air to about the same height. These dives, forming a wide U-shaped pattern, my be performed 3 or 4 times in rapid succession. These hummingbird courtship dives are performed to attracted the attention of the female hummingbirds and to ward off other male hummingbirds that might be in the area.
- Hummingbirds do not mate for life.
- The male hummingbird does not help raise the young. Also female hummingbirds do all the nest building.
- They lap nectar with their tongues. A hummingbird's tongue is grooved like the shape of a "W".
- Hummingbirds do not drink though their beaks like a straw. They lap up nectar with their tongues.
- Hummingbirds have very weak feet and use them mainly just for perching.
- Their wings beat 78 times per second during regular flight and up to 2000 times during a dive.
- The fastest wing-beat during normal flight belongs to the Sun Gem, a Hummingbird found in South America, is 90 beats per second. PER SECOND! During a courtship dive wings can beat up to 200 times per second.
- The hummingbird has a heart rate that can reach up to 1,260 beats per minute.
- To conserve energy while they sleep or when food is scarce, they can go into a hibernation-like state (torpor) where their metabolic rate is slowed to 1/15th of its normal rate. Torpor is a hibernation-like state that the hummingbird can enter to help conserve energy.
- While in a state of torpor, the hummingbird will lower its body temperature by about 20 degrees and up to 50 degrees. This will help the bird conserve energy on cold nights or anytime that food might be scarce.
- Hummingbirds can even lower their heart rate from 500 beats per minute to as few as 50. Also to conserve energy, hummingbirds may even stop breathing for periods of time.
- Hummingbirds do not have a sense of smell. They locate their food by eyesight.
- During migration, some hummingbirds make a non-stop 500 mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico. They must fly 500 miles nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico to reach their wintering grounds in Mexico and Central America. To make the trip, they must eat enough so they weigh 1 1/2 times their usual weight.
- Hummingbirds are very territorial and will perch in trees, vines or bushes, between feedings to watch the area..... and will attack other birds that might try to feed at their food source.
- Hummingbirds are also very helpful in pollinating the plants on which they feed. There are some plants that are only pollinated by hummingbirds. As they lap up the nectar, pollen from the bloom is rubbed off onto the hummingbird, then carried to the next bloom as it continues to feed.
- Hummingbirds can hear and see farther than humans, but have no sense of smell.
- Hummingbirds can see ultraviolet light.