Here are 10 Amazing Facts About Hummingbirds!
- They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–90 times per second (depending on the species).
- They can also fly backwards, and are the only group of birds able to do so.
- They can fly at speeds exceeding 15 m/s or 54 km/h.
- Despite their tiny size, the ruby-throated hummingbird makes a remarkable annual migration, flying over 3000km from the eastern USA, crossing over 1000km of the Gulf of Mexico in a single journey to winter in Central America.
- Some are so small, they have been known to be caught by dragonflies.
- A hummingbird’s brain makes up a whopping 4.2 percent of its weight; proportionally, that’s the largest of any bird’s. (By comparison, our brains are 2 percent of our body weight.) Inside that big brain is a veritable encyclopedia of important information. Studies have shown that hummingbirds can remember every flower they’ve ever visited, including on migration routes. They can figure out how long to wait between visits so the flowers have time to generate more nectar. They can even recognize humans, and know which ones can be counted on to refill empty hummingbird feeders.
- Hummingbirds have terrific vision: They can see every color we can, and their eyes can process ultraviolet light, which means they can also see some colors we can’t.
- While courting females, male hummingbirds make loud sounds with their tail feathers. They climb high into the air and then dive past the females at speeds reaching 65 feet a second. As they swoop, the wind flutters through their tail feathers, causing squeaky sounds that are allegedly a huge turn-on for female hummingbirds.
- Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are normally the first to arrive in PA. They'll begin to arrive sometime in mid to late April searching for potential nesting/breeding sites for the females, who'll arrive later on. However, some of these males are simply passing through, as they continue on their migration north to other states. PA's official date for Hummingbirds is May 1st. I'd suggest putting your hummingbird feeder out the 2nd or last weekend in April.
- All this action comes at a cost. Like marathon runners or teenagers, hummingbirds have super-fast metabolisms and need to eat constantly—about every 10 minutes. Estimates vary, but it’s believed that they generally eat two to three times their own body weight every day. As “It’s Okay to Be Smart" host Joe Hanson points out, that’s the human equivalent of an entire fridge full of food.
Hope this brightens your day and MAKES YOU HUNGRY!