Recently, our family has enjoyed watching hummingbirds at our feeder. The tiny, delicate birds are quite fascinating. The breed that visits our backyard feeder is the ruby throated hummingbird.
Hummingbirds: Tiny, Energetic Creatures
Hummingbirds have wings that can flap up to 100 beats per second and a heart rate that can reach 1260 beats per minute. These energetic, beautiful, adventurous birds feed on invertebrates and nectar throughout the day, consuming up to 12 times their body weight in nectar.
Hummingbirds prefer red flowers to feed on, thus the reason for red nectar in feeders. If you are wearing a red shirt, don’t be surprised if a hummingbird comes to check you out. They are extremely territorial and will make a sharp. high-pitched noise to chase other birds away from the food source.
The hummingbirds wake up bright and early to feed on the nectar because they can barely make it through the night without food. A hummingbird’s heart rate slows dramatically at night so as not to use too much energy.
The wings can rotate nearly 180 degrees, letting the bird hover as well as fly forward and backwards. Incredibly, a humminbird can bolt through the trees at speeds up to 60 mph, though their normal feeding speed is 30 mph.
The Hummingbirds’ Amazing Journey and Courtship
Once a year, the hummingbirds make an amazing monster journey. They travel 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico after gaining 50% of their own body weight.
The wondrous courtship of the ruby throated hummingbird is a sight to behold. The male will climb up to 10 feet above the female and will dive 6 feet to the sides of the female. Then after the female lands the male does extremely fast arcs less than 2 feet away from her.
Hummingbirds are one of the most fascinating creatures that exist. Like our family, many people can study them for hours. It’s easy to be entertained and inspired by these remarkable little birds.