13 Jaw-Dropping Facts About Hummingbirds

These fascinating facts and photos are bound to make you adore them even more!

1/13 View as List

They return to where they hatch

HummingbirdCourtesy 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. Check out these unique bird houses that you might even want to live in.

Its tongue is a useful tool

HummingbirdCourtesy 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. This bird has a trait that every pregnant women wishes their husband had.

They migrate far

HummingbirdCourtesy 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. If you need a smile, check out these hilarious squirrel pictures.

They have very small nests

HummingbirdCourtesy 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

HummingbirdCourtesy 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

HummingbirdCourtesy Kristi Wenger Stoltzfus/Birds Blooms
While resting, the average 4-inch hummingbird takes about 150 breaths per minute. These adorable animal pictures will make your day.

They are the only birds that can fly backward

HummingbirdCourtesy 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.

They sing

HummingbirdCourtesy 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

HummingbirdCourtesy 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

HummingbirdCourtesy 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.

1/13 View as List

Become more interesting every week!

The Reader's Digest "Read Up" Newsletter

We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.