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Hummingbird - Trochilidae - Kolibri
See also Cardinals
See also Scrub Jay
See also Cedar Waxwing
See also Road Runner
Hummingbirds belong to the Trochilidae family.|
'Hmmm, that nectar tastes good ..'
There are over 320 species of hummingbirds:
You can see them in the Americas from southern Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, and at most Caribbean islands.
The biggest variety lives in tropical and subtropical Central and South America.
Surprisingly, some species can withstand frost and high altitudes.
Hummingbird's heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute and as low as 1 beat per minute.
Hummingbird's height: ~ 3 to 5 inches
Weight depends on the species
A ruby-throated-hummingbird weighs only ~3 grams
that is less than the weight of a nickel
Before migration they can double their weight to have enough energy for the long flight!
Some hummingbirds can get older than 10 years.
Most hummingbirds have a long tongue.
Every species has a different beak fitting to the flowers they visit to eat / pollinate.
Many different colors occur
When you hear one, you know why it got its name hummingbird.|
Its wings beat so fast, you barely can see them.
Speeds up to 40 miles per hour can be achieved especially during the mating dance,
when hummingbirds play a melody with their tail feathers to impress the females.
Article by Bill Lindemann
I spent this past weekend in Rockport helping with the 23rd annual Hummer/Bird Celebration and was amazed with the number of hummingbirds I saw – not just at feeders, but out in the country as well. Just driving along highways I could see them passing by in front of the car. While helping guide a field trip to the Fennessey Ranch in Refugio County, I was amazed at seeing large numbers of them go overhead in the brush country. It seemed all were at full throttle as they passed by.
Almost all of these birds were Ruby-throated Hummingbirds heading south to the tropics from their breeding grounds across the eastern half of the country. One of the reasons the folks in Rockport and Fulton have the festival in their honor is that towns along the coast are staging areas in preparation for their long journey over the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula . Some of the hummingbirds follow the coastline rather than making the dangerous trek over the water.
This weekend I observed a first in my more than 45 years of birding – standing at the shoreline and seeing the hummingbirds zipping past on their way to the tropics. The place was Indian Point, a small park between Corpus Christi and Portland . I was there to help with a shorebird field trip for the Hummer/Bird Celebration, but it was hard to concentrate on the shorebirds with the hummingbirds passing within a couple of feet, or less, of my head. In addition to the hummingbirds, hundreds, maybe thousands, of swallows were streaming by the point on their way to the tropics as well.
The park has a raised boardwalk that heads out over a marsh area allowing birders to see shorebirds along small lakes and tidal channels. Looking northward one could pick up the hummingbirds flying just above the vegetation before rising up to clear the board walk. They seemed to be at full speed as they passed close enough to hear the whirring sound of their wings. I noticed that as they passed over the shoreline they started to climb to a higher altitude much like an airplane taking off. They were still rising as they disappeared out of sight. Completely awed by what I was witnessing, my mind began to wander as to what was occurring within these little green “bullets” that were heading southward. I am sure that the birds were a mixture of adults who have made the trip before and youngsters embarking on their first adventure. It is fascinating to think about the process of migration. These birds are born with imprinted patterns in their tiny brains that direct their actions to carry out this trip of more than a thousand miles to an unknown destination.
We do not know what information a hummingbird brain is processing as it is migrating. I am imagining, which birds are not likely capable of doing, all of the perils that these birds will be facing along their route to the tropical region, such as storms, predators, and fatigue. These birds are following imprinted orders in their brains until something stops them, or they arrive at their destination. It is also interesting to imagine what factors are involved in the decision as to where to end their voyage – Mexico , Central America or South America.
Even more fascinating is the process of knowing when it is time to head back to where their started their migration trip. We know that many of the birds will find their way back to the places where they entered the world, such as your backyard or neighborhood. Few statistics exist regarding the life spans of hummingbirds, possibly five years or so. If a hummingbird lives for five years, he will make up to ten of these migration trips in his lifetime, but most incredible is that initial trip where everything is not previously experienced and he is flying on instinct alone.
As a footnote to this article, I was amazed to see how many hummingbirds are still at my feeders in mid-September. My concern and hope is that they can find enough nourishment to make the trip that lies ahead of them. We wish them good fortune in their journey.
When you look for the nest of a hummingbird you are amazed how tiny this little cup is.|
1 or two eggs are found in the nest. It takes up to 19 days before tiny little birds see the light.
The chicks leave after about 21 days.
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