Hummingbird facts

Answering questions about the little birds with a big reputation with hummingbird facts.

One of our lucky facts is they live only in the Americans, from Alaska to the tip of South America.

Hummingbirds live from the deserts to the mountains, wherever they can to find food.

Amazing Hummingbird facts

Interesting Hummingbird Facts, Rufous-tailed HummingbirdRufous-tailed hummingbird On Nest

When resting their heart beats 500 times per minute.

During high activity it may beat up to 1200 times per minute.

They eat about twice their body weight in flower nectar every day!

They may eat five to ten times an hour.


HOW BIG ARE HUMMINGBIRDS?

The Bee Hummingbird from Cuba, at a little over 2", is the smallest bird in the world.

Most hummingbirds are from 3" to 4". Two in the United States are around 5", the Magnificent and Blue-throat.

The Great Hummingbird lives high in the mountains of South America and is over 8".

About 15 Hummingbird Types are seen in the United States.

what is a gorget?

Hummingbird's gorget colorsGorget colors

Beautiful iridescent colors are one of the hummingbird facts that attract us.

These living jewels are a marvelous gift from God.

They display brilliant iridescent, jewel-like colors as they flit and fly in the sunlight.

The most spectacular colors are seen on the gorget - their throat.

Red, purple or orange are common gorget colors.


Facts About Hummingbirds, female Ruby-throated HummingbirdIridescent colors

Hummingbirds must turn directly to the light to show their brilliant colors. In indirect light their colors look very dark.

The body feathers are iridescent also, mostly various shades of green.

Green is a great color to help them with camouflage.

I imagine they would be a tasty treat for many predators, if they could see them.

Interesting Hummingbird Facts, Rufous-tailed HummingbirdRufous-tailed hummingbird On Nest

When resting their heart beats 500 times per minute. During high activity it may beat up to 1200 times per minute.

They eat about twice their body weight in flower nectar every day! They may eat five to ten times an hour.




HOW BIG ARE HUMMINGBIRDS?

The Bee Hummingbird from Cuba, at a little over 2", is the smallest bird in the world.

Most hummingbirds are from 3" to 4".

Two in the United States are around 5", the Magnificent and Blue-throat.

The Great Hummingbird lives high in the mountains of South America and is over 8".

About 15 Hummingbird Types are seen in the United States.

what is a gorget?

Beautiful iridescent colors are one of the hummingbird facts that attract us.

These living jewels are a marvelous gift from God.

They display brilliant iridescent, jewel-like colors as they flit and fly in the sunlight.

The most spectacular colors are seen on the gorget - their throat.

Red, purple or orange are common gorget colors.

Hummingbird's gorget colorsGorget colors

Hummingbirds must turn directly to the light to show their brilliant colors. In indirect light their colors look very dark.

The body feathers are iridescent also, mostly various shades of green.

Green is a great color to help them with camouflage.

I imagine they would be a tasty treat for many predators, if they could see them.

Facts About Hummingbirds, female Ruby-throated HummingbirdIridescent colors

What Do Hummingbird Eat?

Hummingbird's main food is flower nectar. They also eat small insects and spiders for protein.

One of the best known facts about hummingbirds is that hummingbirds like red.

Red flowers and red on their feeders attract hummingbirds.

Trumpet shaped flowers are high on their want list because they contain more nectar.

female hummingbird on trumpet vineTrumpet flowers

How Do Hummingbirds Eat?

Hummingbirds don't suck nectar into their bill like a straw.

One of the unknown hummingbird facts is that they lap the nectar on the end of their forked tongue.

Many people are making food for hummers.

Is making hummingbird nectar difficult? Nope, it is very easy.

The hummingbirds appreciate the food and we get to see them up close.

Hummingbird eating from a red flowerRed Attracts Hummers

How Do Hummingbirds Fly?

Hummingbirds fly better than helicopters!

They can not only hover, but they can fly backward and upside down.

When they fly forward they carry their body horizontal and their wings beat up and down vertically.

Their wings power them on both the up and down strokes. Most birds only power on the down stroke.

Hummingbird flying forward, flight diagram by Carol MayFlying forward

Hummingbirds feed while they are hovering like a helicopter.

They move their body from the horizontal flying position into a 45-degree angle.

Their wings beat horizontally from front to back.

Then they are able to eat while they are still flying.

Hummingbird hovering to feed, diagram  by Carol MayHovering to feed

When they fly backward, they drop their body vertical and move their wings in a circular motion up over their heads.

Their wings move so fast, we can't see them, up to 200 strokes per minute.

What amazing hummingbird flight!

You can hear their wings hum-m-m -m-ing when they fly by.



Hummingbird flying backwards, flight diagram by Carol MayFlying backward

HUMMINGBIRD MIGRATION facts

One of the best hummingbird facts is they spend their summers here in the United States.

We get to feed and enjoy them all summer. Then they fly south in the fall to Mexico or Central America.

Hummingbirds don't migrate in flocks like most other birds do.

They migrate all by themselves so its not easy for predators to spot them. They fly only during daylight hours.

Hummingbird MigrationAnna's Hummingbirds

An amazing hummingbird fact is how far hummers fly!

Rufous fly all the way from Alaska to Mexico over 2,000 miles. Some Calliope fly over 2,700 miles.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly non-stop across the Caribbean to Mexico and Central America around 500 miles.

Anna's Hummingbirds don't migrate. Also, some of the Allen's and Costa's remain in the U.S. without migrating.

Do Butterflies Migrate?

Feeding Before Migration

Hummingbirds store up extra fat before their migration. Its important to keep your feeders full during migration time.

The adult male hummers leave earlier in the fall before the females and juveniles.

Don't take the feeders down for at least 2 weeks after you see the last hummingbird at the feeder. That way any hummers that are late migrating will be able to find food. 

All hummers except Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, make stops on the way to refuel.

Feeding Hummingbirds Before MigrationWhite-eared Hummer

More about Feeding Hummingbirds.


What Is Torpor?

Hummingbirds can die if they don't have enough food to support their high metabolism.

One of the most interesting hummingbird facts is the way they conserve energy.

When it is cold, when their food supply is low, or when they need to save energy during migration, they are able to slow down their metabolic rate.

This is called torpor. They commonly enter torpor at night.

Albino Ruby-throat HummingbirdAlbino hummingbird

When they enter torpor, their body temperature drops 20 to 50 degrees lower and their heart beat lowers from the normal 500 beats per minute to 50 to 180 beats per minute.

This amazing fact about hummingbirds enables them to conserve food reserves.

Females rarely enter torpor while they are nesting because their temperature would go too low to keep their eggs warm.

hummingbird nests

Hummingbird males are rarely seen building a nest or feeding babies. One of the facts about hummingbirds is the female builds their nest.

She builds it out of grass, small leaves, roots, pine needles, animal fur, moss, furry plant parts, insect cocoons and spider webs.

When the nest is held together with spider webs, it has the ability to expand as the babies grow.

The nests are cup shaped, barely two inches in diameter. She camouflages the outside of the nest with bark, lichens or moss.

Hummer Feeding babies

Depending on the species, the nests are near the ground or up to 60 to 70 feet above the ground.

Sometimes she will recycle an old nest. Otherwise it takes her about a week to build a nest.

She generally lays two eggs less than a half an inch in size. In about two weeks, the babies hatch. They are naked and blind when hatched.

After they hatch, mom feeds them small insects and slowly adds nectar.

In about four weeks, they fly from the nest. Mom will continue to feed them another two or three weeks until they are completely independent.

how long do hummingbirds live?

Hummingbirds then live on the average of four to five years. They return to the same area and sometimes to the same nest and feeders they used the year before.

Hummingbirds are such a joy. Its fun learning hummingbird facts.

What an amazing gift of God. They are free for all of us to enjoy.

All we need to do is to invite them into our backyard by planting flowers and feeding them.



Hummingbird Paintings by artist Carol MayHummingbird Paintings

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