19 Jaw-Dropping Facts About Hummingbirds
These fascinating facts and photos are bound to make you adore them even more!
They return to where they hatch
Courtesy Gary Robinette/Birds Blooms
If you think the same hummingbirds come to your feeders and flowers every year, you might be right! Banding research shows they are likely to return to the area where they hatched.
They can’t walk
Courtesy Elisa Taylor Godwin/Birds & Blooms
Hummingbirds’ dainty feet are used for perching only; hummingbirds don’t walk or hop.
They can turn on a dime
They can see in color
They sometimes eat tree sap
Courtesy Julia Phillips/Birds & Blooms
Hummingbirds, especially males, sometimes arrive in their northern nesting grounds before flowers have started to bloom. Where can they find the sweet treats they need for energy? Tree sap! Hummingbirds are known to follow sapsuckers around and drink sap from the holes they drill in trees like maple, birch, and hickory. Plant some of these trees in your own yard to attract hummingbirds that arrive in early spring.
They like to rest and ride on swings
Courtesy Diana White/Birds & Blooms
The tiny birds spend as much as 80 percent of their waking hours at rest. You can buy or build special hummingbird swings for them to enjoy. Also, hang some perches near sugar-water feeders.
They shouldn’t eat organic sugar
Courtesy Kathy Schlosser/Birds & Blooms
Pure white table sugar is the safest option for mixing nectar for hummingbirds. Many consider organic sugar, which doesn’t tend to be fully refined to pure sucrose, unsafe for feeding birds. You should steer clear of brown sugar, powdered sugar, sugar substitutes, honey, red dye or any other ingredient but plain white sugar.
Its tongue is a useful tool
Courtesy Carl Leichtenberger/Birds Blooms
A hummingbird uses its tongue, which functions as a tiny pump, to suck the sought-after sweet liquid from feeders and flowers. These are the most majestic birds found in nature.
They migrate far
Courtesy Robert Howson/Birds Blooms
Rufous hummingbirds migrate farther than any other North American species. They travel 4,000 miles from Mexico to Alaska every spring.
They have very small nests
Courtesy Desiree D. Skatvold/Birds Blooms
The average nest is about the size of a half-dollar coin. The eggs inside the tiny structure look like mini white jelly beans.
They are territorial
Courtesy Rod Marr/Birds Blooms
Hummingbirds can be very territorial and will try to protect their food sources: both flowers and feeders. They spend a lot of time chasing other birds away.
Their breaths per minute are very high
Courtesy Kristi Wenger Stoltzfus/Birds Blooms
While resting, the average 4-inch hummingbird takes about 150 breaths per minute. These hilarious bird puns will quack you up.
They are the only birds that can fly backward
Courtesy Judy Evans/Birds Blooms
They can hover in midair at flowers and feeders, and they’re the only birds that can fly backward. Their wings move in a figure-eight pattern, which allows them to maneuver with ease.
Courtesy Deb Forster/Birds Blooms
Some species, specifically male anna’s and costa’s, are regular singers. With other species, the most common sounds are aggressive calls, which resemble chattering or squealing. You’ll hear them when several hummingbirds are gathered near a food source.
Their wings beat extremely fast
Courtesy Jeanette Brooks Milano/Birds Blooms
Known for erratic movements, these agile birds beat their wings more than 50 times per second, and even faster in extreme flight mode.
They travel alone
Courtesy Lonna Ours/Birds Blooms
Hummingbirds are solitary migrants, so you won’t see them traveling in flocks. Wintering grounds vary by species, but most ruby-throats spend the cold months between southern Mexico and northern Panama.
They eat other things besides flowers
Courtesy Tammi Elbert/Birds Blooms
You typically see hummingbirds at nectar blooms and sugar-water feeders, but they also eat tree sap and small insects when flowers are hard to find in the wild.
They love mist
Courtesy Lisa J. Swanson/Birds Blooms
A birdbath with a small mister, bubbler, or sprayer attracts hummingbirds. It’s a rare sight, but they might fly through the mist of a lawn sprinklers, too!
It takes less than a week to build a nest
Courtesy Jennifer Plunkett/Birds Blooms
It takes less than a week (about five to seven days) for a hummingbird to build its nest. Built by females only, nests are made of lichen, moss, and spiderwebs. Now that you’re an expert on hummingbirds, check out these animal “facts” that you have all wrong.