Pest Control… Pollination…Seed Dispersal at YOUR Service
Tiny Creatures with BIG appetites!
If hummingbirds were your size, they would eat about 77 times as much food as you do!
BELOW: An Anna’s Hummingbird checks out a Bee Balm flower
Hummingbirds are the only known bird that can fly
backward as well as forward. They can fly at speeds
exceeding 54 miles per hour and hover in mid-air by
rappidly flapping their wings 12-90 times per second.
The sound their wings make gave them their name.
Diving into the flower to sip the nectar from the base
Fascinating Hummingbird Facts:
- Hummingbirds eat lots and lots of of nectar; the sugary juice in flowers made by plants. They prefer flower nectar that is 12% to 25% sugar. Unlike nighttime pollinators such as moths and bats, hummingbirds like flowers that are bright and open during the day when they are awake. Their diet is 90% nectar and 10% small flying insects.
- Hummingbirds feed 10-15 times during the day, eating the equivalent of their own body weight in a single day. They have long bills that make it very easy to get nectar from flowers wih tubular shapes. Their tongue is about the same length as their bill and has fringed edges to sip nectar fast. Notice the pollen that sticks to the hummingbird’s bill (on right). It will rub off on the next flower the bird visits.
- The smallest hummingbird is the bee hummingbird which is 2 inches long and often weighs under 2 grams. The largest is the giant hummingbird that is 8.6 inches long and weighs up to 23 grams. There are at least 328 known hummingbird species living in North, Central, and South America.
- The rufous hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird, traveling more than 3,000 miles from nesting grounds in Alaska and Canada to winter in Mexico.
- While the hummingbird’s main threat is habitat loss, the Earth’s changing climate is affecting migratory patterns for many species as well, causing them to be spotted well outside their normal range. Some species have adapted to the presence of humans and are found year round. Hummer gardens with native plants have helped to balance human presence with hummingbird habitats.