It’s the unique characteristics that make birdwatching interesting. For example, there is the hummingbird. It’s right to say that these birds’ second name is fantastic’ because everything about them is astonishing. From the physical appearances to the lifestyle facts, these birds are worth the attention. With the seasonal migration almost, here are the top five facts about these birds that you should have in mind.
1. Food Intake
The hummingbirds are small in size. Surprisingly, these birds can consume twice their body weight on a daily basis. The big question is, what do hummingbirds eat? Like other birds, they consume the sugars found in floral nectar. Also, they eat spiders and small insects. They can also survive on tree sap or juice from fruits. Despite the size, these birds feed about eight times every hour, mostly from Hummingbird feeders.
Hummingbirds are known to have a weird tongue. Surprisingly, the tongue is dedicated to supporting their feeding habits. They suck the nectar through their long bills. In return, the tongue rolls inwards and hence bringing the food to its mouth. Their tongue has tiny hairs at the tip to assist in lapping up the juice or nectar. The tongue contracts and protracts 12 times every second to allow the sucking process and hence an efficient feeding process.
2. Built for Performance
Another interesting fact about the hummingbirds is their movements in the air. This species can outdo all the birds in this world concerning stunt-flying. Precisely, we can say that they are the only birds that can outdo even the helicopter stunts. They can fly backward, frontwards, hover or even fly upside-down. You can rarely see their tricks because they are quick. But, they are worth a show, and it’s what each pilot would like to have on his or her machine.
Currently, there are many hummingbirds species. Each species has a different wings beat. On average, these birds have 700-5400 wings beat per minute when hovering. The hits give them a speed of about 30 miles per hour when flying. But, the birds can dive up to 50 miles per hour, almost the highest speed of a standard motorbike.
However, the high speed takes much of their energy, and that’s why they spend most of their time eating and resting. In most birds, 15 percent of the body is usually the flight muscle. But, for the hummingbirds, the flight muscles takes up to 30 percent of their body weight. It’s this high proportionality that enables them to remain in the air for more than 20 hours while crossing the Gulf of Mexico for example. The exciting thing about these birds is that they can’t use their feet to walk. The feet are usually weak and can only be used for perching.
3. Migration Habits
According to statistics, there are more than 330 species of hummingbirds. Each of the species possesses some unique characteristics. Many individuals are always wondering about the origin of the name hummingbird. As it implies, these birds were named from the humming noise that they make while hovering.
As stated earlier, these birds have the most active flight muscles amongst the wild birds. The muscles favor their migration patterns. On average, these birds cover over 2000 miles twice a year in search of a welcoming environment and season. They cover over 500 miles to cross the Gulf of Mexico while going in and out of the south of America.
These birds are known to have the most active flight muscles, and which takes most of its body weight. In preparation to migrate, these birds take much food which sees half of its body weight converted into fat. It’s the body fat that is used as fuel during the journey. Surprisingly, the hummingbirds don’t migrate as a group. Mostly, the males migrate first while the females follow later. Based on statistics, 95 percent of the hummingbirds are from the south of the US while the remaining number comes from Mexico.
4. Biological Facts
It’s evident that even with such a tiny size, these birds have a lot of exciting things to learn both physical and internal. First thing first, these birds have no sense of smell. But, their hearing senses are better than those of human beings. Also, they can see well in ultraviolet light, as well as, see further than humans. These two natural abilities make these tiny birds much interesting to understand.
Another thing, these birds’ brain takes 4.2 percent of its body weight. The size makes it a bird with the most substantial brain proportionality. You would ask how the brain is important, and I would tell you that the tiny bird can remember every flower it has sucked. Besides, these birds know how long it will take for a specific flower to refill. Isn’t that interesting? I know it sounds even weird, but it’s a fact.
Averagely, hummingbirds live for five years. But, studies have revealed that they can live up to 12 years. Their heart beats up to 1260 times per minute. However, when they’re fatigued, or food is scarce, these birds hibernate to conserve energy. At this state, their heartbeats at 250 times per minute, and they appear as though they are dead.
5. Reproduction Life
Although tiny, hummingbirds have the most exciting mating and reproductive life. Of all the birds in the universe, these birds have the smallest nest. Their nest is usually half the size of a walnut shell, and it’s built by the woman. Their nests are cup-shaped and comprise of leaves, plant bits, moss, and spider silk.
The female bird lays only two eggs, which are the size of small pearls. The male counterparts are never involved in the raising of the kids and flee the home immediately the chicks are hatched. A baby hummingbird is usually the size of a penny and rests for about three weeks before it can start flying.
Although tiny, hummingbirds are one of the few living creatures with exciting features. Most of these interesting facts can be noted while others can’t. In this article, there are top five facts about the bird that you should have in mind. I hope that you enjoyed reading each one of them.