Fun Facts About Hummingbirds and How to Attract Them
Hummingbirds are tiny birds that move their wings quickly to hover over flowers and feeders. Their long beaks enable them to access nectar with their tongues. Learning fun facts about hummingbirds may help you appreciate these fascinating birds more. You may even wish to plant flowers or hang a feeder to attract them to your yard.
Facts About Hummingbirds
- Hummingbirds are the smallest birds that migrate, often traveling alone up to 500 miles, as opposed to most birds, which migrate in flocks.
- Hummingbirds get their name from the humming sound produced by their wings as they hover.
- Hummingbirds are able to fly backward. They are the only bird that can do this.
- Hummingbirds cannot smell, but they can see colors well. Some hummingbirds prefer red and orange flowers, so add plants of these colors to your yard when you want to attract hummingbirds. If you place a hummingbird feeder in your yard, don't fill it with artificially colored nectar, because this could harm hummingbirds.
- Hummingbirds are likely to return to the same feeder and area where they hatched.
- The average weight of hummingbirds is less than one nickel.
- Hummingbirds don't hop or walk. They use their legs to perch and move sideways while perching.
- Hummingbirds drink nectar from feeders by moving their tongues in and out roughly 13 times each second. Hummingbird tongues have tiny hairs on the tips to help them lap up nectar more effectively. Hummingbirds drink up to two times their body weight each day.
- Hummingbirds will eat flying insects, too.
- Hovering hummingbirds expend 10 times more energy than a man running nine miles per hour does. Hummingbirds have the highest energy output for their body weight of any animal.
- Hummingbirds use various calls to communicate with each other. Different hummingbird species have unique languages.
- Hummingbirds can be very aggressive when defending their territory, even attacking crows, jays, and hawks.
- Hummingbird females pick the mates, not the males. The females are attracted to the iridescent feathers of the males.
- â€‹Male hummingbirds migrate first, followed by the female and juveniles.
- Female hummingbirds usually lay two eggs at a time, which are about the same size as a jellybean. Their nests are smaller than a half dollar, and some hummingbird species make their nests out of spider silk and plant down that will allow the nests to expand as the baby hummingbirds grow.
- There are more than 330 different hummingbird species in North and South America. Common species include:
- Anna's Hummingbirds live along the west coast of the United States as well as in Texas.
- Black-Chinned Hummingbirds live along the west coast and in central states, including Texas. Black-chinned hummingbirds are the only species that breeds in Texas.
- Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds live in mountain meadow areas and throughout most of Texas.
- Calliope Hummingbirds are the smallest known bird in the United States and live in the western half of the U.S, including Texas.
- Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds live in the eastern half of the United States, including Texas.
- Rufous Hummingbirds live in the western half of the United States, including Texas and Alaska.
How to Attract Hummingbirds
- Use both a feeder and native plants in your yard. Plants such as honeysuckle, Texas plume, red sage, and purple horsemint are especially attractive to hummingbirds.
- Tie orange or red tape to a fence post near the feeder to attract hummingbirds.
- Place nesting material such as string and tiny twigs near the feeder to attract females.
- Hang the feeder in a place where hummingbirds will find it and where you can see it so you can enjoy watching them. Find a place that's sheltered from predators. An area with bushes on one side is ideal, but make sure hummingbirds have a wide space for flying into and away from the feeder. Place a bird bath or fountain near the fountain, too.
- Hummingbirds love sweet nectar in feeders, but use nectar without artificial colors. Make your own nectar with one part white granulated sugar and four parts tap water. As long as the feeder is red or orange, it will attract hummingbirds.
- Keep the hummingbird feeder clean by washing it in warm water once a week and refilling it with fresh nectar. Don't use bleach to clean the feeder. Mold and salmonella can grow in feeders, especially in warm weather. These organisms can make hummingbirds sick. If the nectar becomes cloudy, clean the feeder and refill with fresh nectar right away.
- Hummingbirds prefer fresh nectar and will be more likely to visit a well-maintained feeder.
- It's fine to leave the feeder up as hummingbirds begin to migrate in the fall. In some areas of Texas, hummingbirds can live all winter if they have access to nectar.
By: Jim Olenbush