Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

This is a baby humming bird that I found in my moon garden one afternoon when I went out to take photos of the gardens. I had never seen a baby humming bird before it was quite a treat.

baby humming bird (1)

These other photos are some that I took one day after setting out under an apple tree at the end of my trailer for 3 hours. I put feeders out every year so I know it would only be a matter of time before he showed up.

hummingbird (72)

All birds are fascinating creatures, but there are many facts about hummingbirds that make them astonishing to even experienced birders. From physiological facts to lifestyle facts to distribution facts, hummingbirds are some of the most interesting of the nearly 10,000 bird species in the world.

  1. There are more than 325 hummingbird species in the world. Only eight species regularly breed in the United States, though up to two dozen species may visit the country or be reported as regular vagrants.
  2. A hummingbird’s brilliant throat color is not caused by feather pigmentation, but rather by iridescence in the arrangement of the feathers and the influence of light level, moisture and other factors.
  3. Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, though their feet can be used to scoot sideways while they are perched. These birds have evolved smaller feet to be lighter for more efficient flying.
  4. The calliope hummingbird is the smallest bird species in North America and measures just 3 inches long. The bee hummingbird is the smallest species and measures 2.25 inches long.
  5. Hummingbirds have 1,000-1,500 feathers, the fewest number of feathers of any bird species in the world.
  6. The average ruby-throated hummingbird weighs 3 grams. In comparison, a nickel weighs 4.5 grams.
  7. From 25-30 percent of a hummingbird’s weight is in its pectoral muscles, the muscles principally responsible for flight.
  8. A hummingbird’s maximum forward flight speed is 30 miles per hour, though the birds can reach up to 60 miles per hour in a dive, and hummingbirds have many adaptations for unique flight.
  9. Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs of all birds. They measure less than 1/2 inch long but may represent as much as 10 percent of the mother’s weight at the time the eggs are laid.
  10. A hummingbird must consume approximately 1/2 of its weight in sugar daily, and the average hummingbird feeds 5-8 times per hour.
  11. A hummingbird’s wings beat between 50 and 200 flaps per second depending on the direction of flight and air conditions.
  12. An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute.
  13. At rest, a hummingbird takes an average of 250 breaths per minute.
  14. The rufous hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird species with a distance of more than 3,000 miles from the bird’s nesting grounds in Alaska and Canada to its winter habitat in Mexico.
  15. The ruby-throated hummingbird flies 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico during both its spring and fall migrations.
  16. Depending on the species, habitat conditions, predators and other factors, including threats to hummingbirds, the average lifespan of a wild hummingbird is 3-12 years.17. Hummingbirds have no sense of smell but have very keen eyesight.
  17. Hummingbirds do not suck nectar through their long bills, they lick it with fringed, forked tongues.
  18. A hummingbird can lick 10-15 times per second while feeding.
  19. Hummingbirds digest natural sucrose in 20 minutes with 97 percent efficiency for converting the sugar into energy.
  20. Many hummingbird species, including Anna’s, black-chinned, Allen’s, Costa’s, rufous, calliope and broad-tailed hummingbirds, can breed together to create hybrid species, one fact that makes identifying hummingbirds very challenging.
  21. The peak fall migration period for hummingbirds is from mid-July through August or early September, depending on the route and the exact species.
  22. Despite their small size, hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive bird species and will regularly attack jays, crows and hawks that infringe on their territory, and backyard birders often have one dominant hummingbird that guards all the feeders.
  23. The bill of the aptly named sword-billed hummingbird, found in the Andes Mountains, can reach up to 4 inches long, and it can be so heavy that the birds may perch holding their bills straight up.
  24. Hummingbirds are native species of the New World and are not found outside of the Western Hemisphere.

 

 

Hummingbird Migration The migration of hummingbirds is an amazing thing since hummingbirds have many different fly zones or paths in which they travel from one habitat to another. These little birds can fly far and fast. There are a few types or species of hummingbirds that make this journey every spring* and fall*.

It is believed that hummingbirds are very keen on the changes in daylight and the declining insect and flower population every year before migration. It is also believed that a chemical change occurs pushing the little hummingbirds to migrate. Some report that hummingbirds will follow the flower population; still others state that they follow the insect population. These are only speculations. No one really knows for sure why hummingbirds migrate.

Each time before a hummingbird starts migration, they need to eat a lot of insects and nectar to fatten up. A hummingbird will gain 25-40% of their body weight before they start migration. If a larger bird gained that much weight, they would not be able to get off the ground. During this time you may notice a hummingbird swarm around your feeders.

While hummingbird migration occurs on the same common fly zones, they do so alone. The best analogy is that hummingbirds are like commuters on a freeway, all going the same way on the same road, but doing so alone to get to their own individual homes. Hummingbird will migrate alone for many reasons. First of all, hummingbirds are so small that most predators have difficulty seeing them. If they flocked together, they would be a larger, more readily seen, target. Also, a hummingbird must stop frequently to feed at a flower or feeder, even during migration. To have a flock of hummingbirds waiting in line for a flower to refill doesn’t work. Plus, during hummingbird flight, there is just not enough body mass to make a wake in the air currents for others.

When hummingbirds are migrating, they usually do not stay very high off the ground. They have been reported to fly just above treetop level over land or pretty much skimming the top of the water ways. It is believed they do this to keep an eye out for a food or nectar opportunity on their long journey.

While migrating, hummingbirds generally will fly during the day and sleep at night. When the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are flying over the Gulf of Mexico during migration, there is no place to land to sleep, so they must keep on going. Many years ago, fisherman and oil rig workers would report seeking hummingbirds zip by them out in the gulf 200 miles away from land. The hummingbirds could be seen flying low over the water toward shore. The workers started to notice this happening every year, recording the common migration routes taken by the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. It’s amazing to think that these little tiny fluffs of feathers would travel over 450 miles of water with a 20 mile an hour headwind (with more than 20 hours of travel time) to make it to their favorite breeding grounds. It must be love.

Many hummingbirds will also have to cross other obstacles during migration, like the Mojave Desert. There have been reports of an occasional Rufous Hummingbird falling out of the sky on the migration route to and from Alaska.

Hummingbirds will try to use the winds to their advantage every chance they get. Researchers in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania found that hummingbirds will migrate in larger numbers when the winds were blowing in the direction they wished to go, and even more so when the winds were strong.

Hummingbirds will migrate north in the spring* and start to arrive in February in the Southern United States and as far north as Alaska in May. They will then migrate south to Mexico and Central America in the fall* starting in August through October.

Hummingbirds do not migrate on the backs of geese. This is a common myth started by the pilgrims who didn’t know any better at the time. Geese fly a different route than hummingbirds and have different needs.

Migration will last anywhere from one (1) to four (4) weeks averaging about twenty to twenty-five (20-25) miles per day. During this time, they will spend most of their time flying with some rest stops for food, nectar, and sleep. They will only stay in one place for one (1) to fourteen (14) days at a time.

The males will arrive in their seasonal home about three (3) weeks before the females. There are some that believe that the females and young ones follow the male’s bright colors. There is also the belief that the males will protect the females and young and by establishing a territory in a good location, fighting off the other males, before the females arrive.

The first thing all hummingbirds will do upon arrival at their destination is fatten up. The males will establish their territory and start trolling for females. The female will start looking for the best looking guy and then maybe a nest location.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds fly zone is along the Eastern Coast of the United State along the Appalachian Mountains starting in February and as far south as Panama in the winter* starting in September. Some will travel over land to and from Central America while many others trek over the Gulf of Mexico.

The Black-Chinned Hummingbirds fly zone is from the Southern United States and Mexico through British Columbia. The spring* migration starts in March throughout the Southern United States reaching the North Western United States and British Columbia in May. They will start to leave British Columbia in September and return to Mexico by November.

The Calliope Hummingbirds will migrate in their fly zone in the spring* starting in March and arrive in British Columbia starting in late May. They will then turn around and start to head back to their winter* home in August.

The Broad-Tailed Hummingbird will arrive for spring* in the Arizona area in late march and arrive in the north-western states in May. They will start to migrate south* for winter* in late September or October.

The Rufous Hummingbirds has a long fly-zone and will start in February and will travel along the west coast to British Columbia and Alaska by the end of April. They will travel in the fall* starting in August to reach their winter* destinations in southern and coastal California, along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, and throughout Mexico.

Costa’s Hummingbirds have a shorter fly zone and will spend their summer* in Southern California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. They arrive staring in early February and start to head back to their winter* destination in May.

Allen’s Hummingbirds also has a shorter fly zone will winter* in Southern California and Mexico and summer* up the California Coast into Southern Oregon starting in February. They will head back to their winter* homes in July and August.

The information above I got off Google The photos are mine

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements