I don’t know about you, but there is something about Hummingbirds that just makes me want to smile. They are the tiniest of birds and I believe blessed with lovely coloration. These tiny creatures range in size from 7.5 to 13 centimeters and typically weigh less than 2 grams. Did you know?
Hummingbirds belong to the Trochilidae family. As with most birds, the males are more colorful than their female counterparts. These agile nymphs can fly as rapidly as thirty miles per hour in direct flight and like a miniature helicopter they can fly backward and hover, as well as, forward. Hummingbirds are able to fly for extended periods of time during migration. I.e. 18 to 20 hours.
During mating season they perform acrobatic courtship dives to attract a mate. They can obtain speeds in excess of 45 mph during these mating dives. It is not uncommon for the Hummingbird to create a nest from spider webs and plants of various species. Approximately seventeen varieties of hummingbirds are found in the United States alone. Once successfully mated they may have up to two pea sized eggs that will hatch into baby Hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds do not mate for life. The females take care of their chicks and eggs. When nursing their young they eat small insects that they can in turn feed to their babies. While visiting the northern sectors they also make use of tree sap as a food source.
Body temperatures for Hummingbirds is a warm 105 degrees Farenheit because their feathers lack a quality insulation. They can fall into Torpor which for other animals is a bit like hibernation. Torpor allows them to maintain their body temperature while falling into a nearly sleep-like state. All metabolic functions also drop during torpor helping them to preserve vital energy and zone out.
Migratory patterns for these birds follow the flowers that are blooming. During Winter they will generally be found in the southern and western portions of the USA and during Spring into Summer or early Fall depending on the temperatures they can be located everywhere including the northern and mountainous portion of the United States.
Most Hummingbirds are somewhat antisocial. They do not create bonds or friendships as some bird species do because it threatens their ability to locate quality food. This is also a reason they do not mate more than seasonally, competition for food is fierce amongst them. Their long tubular tongues extract the nectar from flowers. Some flowers are so large they almost appear to swallow the Hummingbird.
You can attract Hummingbirds to your yard with a sugar water filled Hummingbird feeder. To learn more about these special little birds please visit https://nationalzoo.si.edu/migratory-birds/hummingbirds.