One of my favorite things to watch and appreciate in the Spring are the return of the hummingbirds. They are such a unique group of birds. So very tiny, with an overabundance of energy and they gather fairly noisily around flowers and feeders. Their wings hum, almost like the buzzing of a bee, and they chatter with high pitched excitement.
I’ve enjoyed watching hummingbirds flit and dash hither and yon, flying to and landing on my feeders. And then once fed and satisfied, watched a self-appointed “guard” who would dart out and protect all of “his” feeders. It always makes me laugh. I have a minimum of four feeders…and really? Really? You have to try to keep all others from stopping for a drink? You don’t realize, I guess, that you need other members of your kind to continue to have a life of fruition. There is a bountiful supply of food in my yard–flowers, bugs such as ants, aphids, and so forth, and feeders. Yet you have no problem dashing in front of my face in a humming, buzzing hovering manner, demanding that I quickly refill any that have become empty. Oh foolish little flitting flyer! All your lovely colors of iridescent green and a throat of radiant red. Your long beak seeks long throated flowers and the small holes in the commercial hummingbird feeders.
And you are the only birds brave enough to disregard the fury of hurricanes as they blow and bellow, bending trees. But you and your crew, flit to the feeders land and while the feeder sways, you calmly drink and seek your satisfaction. I don’t see sparrows, swallows, bluebirds, or others during the hurricane’s fury; but you all come calling. I’ve braved the winds and rains to take pictures to prove to the world how vast you are in your tininess. There seems to be no guarding during these storms. The feeders are full of females, and suddenly you males seem tolerant now of taking turns. But truly only at the big feeding times of the day, early mornings and early evenings.
Let me share some of the facts of these tiny amazing birds. They are among the smallest of birds, measuring 3-5″ generally, and the very smallest of the entire group is the bee hummingbird, which is about 2 inches, and weighs less than a penny. As they hover, their wings are moving at about 50 flaps a second. Yikes! That is moving! And they are also able to fly backwards and can fly at speeds up to 30 mph. They may travel 500 miles during migration, although there is one species that travels 3000 miles, going from Alaska to Mexico.
Hummingbirds eat half their weight in sugar each day, and they use their tongues to lap at the nectar of the feeder or flowers; their beaks do not suck the nectar. They also will eat bugs, needing the proteins, fats and amino acids they gain from them for their own muscles and feather manufacture. Hummingbirds have a very high metabolism since they are a high energy user. They breathe about 250 times/minute. There is usually one dominant hummingbird who will guard all the feeders, and will also chase out bigger birds who fly into its territory. These birds are only found in the Western Hemisphere. I hope you get the opportunity to sit and watch these fascinating, busy creatures.
How rich is God’s grace, which he has given to us so fully and freely. Ephesians 1:7,8
Such a privilege that I’ve witnessed and enjoyed these exceptional birds.
These are some of my bellaviews. Blessings