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10 Fun Facts About Hummingbirds

800px-Rufous_hummingbird_(female)
It’s that sad time of year when your beautiful hummingbirds begin packing their bags and making that long, lonely journey south to warmer temperatures. Although the little hummers may be leaving your yard, they don’t have to leave your thoughts. That’s why we’re giving away the “All About Hummingbirds” course from Birds & Bloom to one of our readers. Simply click here to enter.

In the meantime, let’s keep the thought of hummingbirds fresh in our mind with this list of 10 interesting hummingbird facts.

1. When it gets really cold, hummingbirds enter a temporary hibernation-like sleep called torpor. They shut down their metabolism, lower their heart rate, drop their body temperature and appear to be dead, which is only exacerbated by the fact that their breathing also slows significantly. You’ll often find hummingbirds hanging upside down in this torpid state at night or during an unexpected freeze.

2. Hummingbirds are solitary creatures. You won’t see them migrating in flocks, and, unlike many songbirds, hummingbirds do not have long-term mates.

3. Although it’s a popular myth that they will not migrate if you leave up your hummingbird feeders, their migration is actually brought upon by changes in the amount of light in each day.

4. A hummingbird’s diet consists of more than just nectar (although that is where they get most of their nutrition). Hummers eat small insects like mosquitoes, ants, weevils, caterpillars and more. Small spiders also make up some of their diet, even though spiders have been known to eat hummingbirds.

5. It takes about two weeks for a hummingbird to make its migratory journey to Mexico or South America.

6. The Rufous Hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird, traveling 3,000 miles from Alaska or the northern regions of Canada all the way down to Mexico.

tumblr_mroua62nar1rte5gyo1_12807. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds must fly nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico because there is no place to stop. They can make this 500-mile flight by storing enough fat to fuel their journey.

8. The Bee Hummingbird, which is found in and around Cuba, is the world’s smallest living bird. It’s usually a little more than 2 inches long and typically weighs less than 2 grams.

9. An average hummingbird eats 5–8 times an hour.

10. There are more than 340 hummingbird species and they are only found in North and South America. Amazingly, only eight of those species regularly breed in the United States.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.

4 Comments

  1. It’s interesting to know that a hummingbird eats around 5-8 times per hour despite its small size. I have a flower garden at the back of my house and this must be the reason why they always flock around them at a certain time of the day. Maybe it would be better if I’ll buy a bee-proof hummingbird feeder that will let them consume food easily.

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