The Amazing Hummingbird
Without a doubt, hummingbirds are beautiful and interesting creatures.
Those living in the wild usually have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. However, in captivity, hummingbirds can survive for more than 10 years!
They feed off of insects, taking down an average of 400 to 500 per day, even more when it rains. They also eat more when they are about to migrate, sometime even doubling their weight for the long flight ahead. Hummingbirds also feed on flower nectar, helping the flower out at the same time by pollinating it.
For this reason, the Portuguese gave the hummingbird its name meaning "flower kisser." There are even North American plants that depend on hummingbirds for pollination.
They can hover above the flower or feeders thanks to their unique wings; in order for them to make forward and backward strokes consecutively their wings rotate at their shoulders.
Some hummingbirds' wings flap as slow as 18 times per second, and some can beat them at an astonishing 70 to 80 flaps per second. They breathe an average of 250 times per minute. These small birds have speed, flying at speeds over 45 mph, and with bodies ranging from 2 ¼" to 8 ½", they are also quite agile.
There are over 338 species of hummingbirds, but only about 16 are common in the United States. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species common east of the Mississippi. Males of these species have a ruby colored throat, while the females have a pale, often speckled throat. It is common with most species of hummingbirds for the male to be colorful and flashy.
They arrive at nesting grounds early to claim a territory and then flash their neon colors to attract females. Males have more than one mate, and females can tend to several nests at one time. She may be building one nest while still caring for newly hatched babies. The main responsibility of a female is to take care of the nest. She lays two very small white eggs at a time; when the hatchlings start to outgrow the nest, it will actually stretch with them because of the elasticity of the spider webs it is made of. The nestling will stay in the nest for about 21 days before going out to forage their own food. After that, it's on its own!
George & Judy
George and wife Judy are empty nesters (ah ha no wonder the affinity for birds!)who enjoy the outdoors, stained glass and eagerly awaiting for the truckloads of laundry that their two college daughters bring home. Of recent, the internet has played an integral part in George's lengthening "To Do" list and Judy's search for a internet rehabilitation center.