Saturday, July 20, 2013

Did You Know?

I love hummingbirds.  My family knows that the first thing I do when we get to our cabin is go get my feeders and fill them.  I think hummingbirds are amazing little birds.  Watching them fascinates me.  You'll find I include hummingbirds in many of my stories because I do love them.

Thought I'd share a few facts about hummingbirds I found in a book I have titled, Hummingbirds of The American West by Lynn Hassler. 

1.  They can fly up, down, sideways, backwards and have the fastest wing beat rate of any birds.  Their wing beat can exceed 72 times per second.  One of their remarkable characteristics is they can hover. It's hard to image their wings beat 72 times per second, isn't it?  The energy they exude is amazing.

2.  They have feet but their legs are very short and they are unable to walk or hop.

 Isn't this albino a beautiful hummingbird?  I've never seen one in person but I'd love to.

3.  There are over 320 species of hummingbirds.  The closer you get to the equator, the more species you'll find.  In the United States, the greatest number of species is in the West.

4.  Every day they must consume half of their weight in food because they burn up their fuel so quickly.  They usually feed 5 - 8 times per hour.  The rest of the time they are digesting.  Flower nectar is their primary food source, but in its absence, they'll eat tiny insects and spiders, gnats, flies, mosquitos, aphids and flying ants as well as oozing tree sap.  Did you know that?  I was amazed that they eat small bugs.  I was under the impression that they only drink the nectar from a feeder or from the flowers.

5.  They are very territorial and often chase other birds away.

6.  They don't sing like other birds.  Vocalizations tend to be squeaks, whistles, chirps, cheeps, ticks, clacks, hums, and buzzing.

7.  Males mate with multiple females each season. Females do all the next building, incubation and tending of young.  Their eggs are about the size of lima beans, and the female generally lays two eggs about a day apart.  Babies are born blind and without feathers.

8.  Their lifespan is about 3-5 years.

Just a few facts.  I hope you learned a little about hummingbirds and found some of these facts interesting.

Have a great day.

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