Apr 2, 2015 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, April 2015

Cool Hummingbird Facts!

Did you know? It has been estimated that hummingbirds sometimes visit 1,000 flowers a day to collect nectar.
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You don't need to be a bird expert to know that hummingbirds are cool! Check out this list of facts about these flying jewels of the bird world.

  • The smallest bird in the world is the bee hummingbird, native to Cuba. It measures only 2 inches from bill tip to tail tip.
  • The largest hummingbird in the world is the giant hummingbird, a resident of the Andes. It is 8½ inches in length, or about two inches smaller than a robin.
  • There are several species of nectar-drinking moths that resemble hummingbirds, called hummingbird moths. Note: Hummingbirds don't have antennae, but moths do!
  • In a normal day of feeding, hummingbirds consume more than their body weight in nectar and insects.
  • Hummingbird tongues are shaped like a W, with twin canals. The tip is forked, with featherlike edges.
  • Hummingbirds require more energy to live than any other warm-blooded animal. Among birds, they have the highest normal body temperature, proportionally the largest brain and heart, the highest heart rate, and the fastest wingbeats.
  • Hummingbirds can fly horizontally up to 30 miles per hour, but males descending in their courtship display can dive at speeds of 60 mph.
  • Hummingbird eggs are as tiny as the eraser on a No. 2 pencil.
  • The female alone builds the nest, incubates and tends to the young.
  • Hummingbird nests are constructed of spider webs, fluffy plant fibers, and animal hair. The outside is often camouflaged with lichen, moss, bark, or leaves.
  • It takes about three weeks from hatching until fledging. Fledglings remain dependent upon their mom for food for about one more week.
  • Young male hummingbirds resemble females until the following spring.
  • Fewer than 35 percent of hummingbird fledglings survive their first year.
  • The old-age record for any wild, banded hummingbird is 12 years, but such geriatric birds are extreme exceptions.
  • During cool weather at night, hummingbirds go into a state of mini-hibernation, called torpor. The bird's body temperature drops significantly; its heart rate slows, and its metabolism runs at as little as 1/50th that of an active bird.

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  • I've been feeding the birds at my home for over 20 years and have multiple bird houses all over. I'm getting old and I'm worried more about the poor birds that occupy the bird houses and where they will go when I'm gone and someone else buys my house and takes down all the bird houses.
    by Linda DiPierro, Sun, 01 Dec 2019
  • i live in watauga county nc and bluejays left our area on tuesday aug 20 2019! About twenty came in for their feed of peanuts, then left. It has been so quiet since they left. The gold finches are busy feeding.
    by Rhoda Buffalo, Thu, 22 Aug 2019
  • Really?! I have two (2) feeders that hold just over a pound each of Safflower seeds (I weighed) and I have to fill them up EVERY day. The small birds absolutely love these seeds!
    by David John Repischak, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I use frisbees for umbrellas. Sometimes I get them free at events. I use red over hummingbird feeders. Helps to attract them.
    by wnyfalconfan, Mon, 05 Aug 2019
  • I recently were given two new bird feeders. Both have not been touched by any birds. Its been nearly 6 month, why is this? One is like a larger orange Hazel nut with an open front & the other is a yellow honey comb with 3 sides open.Is it the colour which scares the birds? I have the same feed in them as in my old feeder, which I need to refill regularly. Many thanks. Doreen
    by Doreen Atkins, Mon, 29 Jul 2019