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.