May 28, 2014

Photo of the Week - Hummingbird with Untucked Wing

This is one of many photos I took last year of hummingbirds. It is curious about what is going on, but the local hummingbird population is quite scarce this spring. Instead of regular visits every couple minutes, we get just a few a day. As further evidence, the sugar water level in the feeder is not dropping at any noticeable rate. I checked with some neighbors and they reported the same scarcity of birds. So I haven’t been in a hurry to set up new perches for this year’s photo shoots.

Just for fun, here are a few of many facts (obtained HERE) about these special little birds:
  • A hummingbird’s brain is 4.2% of its body weight, the largest proportion in the bird kingdom.
  • Hummingbirds chirp instead of sing.
  • They can see father and hear better than humans, but they have little or no sense of smell.
  • A hummingbird’s tongue is grooved like the shape of a “W” and has tiny hairs on the tip to help lap up nectar.
  • A hummingbird’s heart beats up to 1260 times per minute and slows down to about 250 times per minute at rest.
  • Their metabolism is approximately 100 times that of an elephant.
  • A hummingbird can weigh between 2 and 20 grams. (A penny weighs 2.5 grams.)
  • They have very weak feet and can barely walk.
  • A hummingbird needs to eat an average of 7 times per hour, consuming between half to 8 times its body weight a day.
  • They will visit an average of 1000 flowers per day for nectar and lap up the nectar at a rate of about 13 licks per second.
  • A hummingbird can fly an average of 25-30 miles per hour and dive up to 60 miles per hour.
  • Their wings beat about 70 times per second and up to 200 times per second when diving.
  • Hummingbirds can hover and fly forward, backwards, sideways, and even upside-down.
  • When hummingbirds sleep at night, they go into a hibernation-like state called torpor, thereby reducing their metabolic rate and saving energy. It can take them up to an hour to fully recover from torpor.
  • Hummingbirds are only found naturally in the Americas, from as far north as Alaska and as far south as Chile.
  • They have an average life span of 5 years and can live for more than 10 years.


  1. such a lovely portrait!

    we only have 1 pair of hummers here, too. last year i noticed the population had dropped considerably from prior years.

  2. Haven't seen ANY hummers this year...must be because of all the weird weather.
    LOVE the photo Donna!!

  3. I haven't seen any here either.

    This is a great post, Donna. Thanks for sharing the info. And,
    I LOVE the photo!


  4. It must be the same everywhere...early this spring we had them at my home and at the feeder at work...then THEY STOPPED COMING! My hubby and I have changed out the food twice and haven't seen one for a couple of weeks! I wonder what is going on? Anyway, that photo is AMAZING! It needs to be in a bird book somewhere, girl!

  5. I'm blaming the weather, too. Haven't seen one and usually the azalea has a few My! They do lead frantic lives, don't they? I'm thinking torpor might not be a bad thing.

  6. How interesting. We haven't seen any yet but we haven't put our feeder out yet either. Have a good week my friend! Hugs, Diane

  7. Great post and info. Beautiful hummer!

  8. Lovely photo Donna. I've only seen one so far - came to our kitchen window box a few times. I will hang a feeder for them later - don't like leaving it for over 3 weeks without fresh water!

    Hope things are going well -
    Love, Mary

    P.S. Will hopefully be able to link my 'stormy weather' post for June whilst on the ship! Never know how good the Internet will be when at sea!

  9. Lovely photo, and what interesting facts, Imagine if our hearts beat that fast...

  10. what a beautiful shot.. I wish I had better luck attracting them. Those are some interesting facts, I didn't know most of that

  11. I cannot even imagine getting visits every few minutes! We get them sporadically throughout the day, but in the evening they come by more regularly, maybe every 15 minutes, making the rounds to the four feeders we have hanging in the yard. Your photo is AMAZING! Thanks for your well wishes for Mr. J. He's home and feeling GREAT!

  12. Such sweet little birds they are! My daughter actually rescued one that had gotten into our screened-in back porch a couple of weeks ago. She tried to guide it out the door, but it became frantic and lost its energy. It lit on the screen and was even leaning backward, as if exhausted. (She snapped a quick picture...she was going outside with her camera when she discovered him, but alas, she had the wrong lens.) She feared that he was going to expire, but she ran out and got the feeder and brought it to him. She picked him up and set him there at the edge and, amazingly, he thrust his little proboscis in and drank deeply, sat there for a bit, then flew away. Hooray!

    Your photo of your little guy is gorgeous!

  13. Such a pretty little hummingbird. They are busy creatures, aren't they? Makes me exhausted just reading about all their activity. Perhaps the lack of birds is due to the long hard winter. I hope they make a comeback.
    We have a few around here - once the buddleia blooms there will be more of them zipping around the deck.

  14. So interesting, Donna! We get them once in awhile, and I always love seeing them! Your photo is so beautiful!
    Thank you so much for all of your kind comments on my blog...I really appreciate it...xo


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