Hum yourself a happy tune; it’s time to talk about hummingbirds!
Hummingbirds may be birds by nature, but their beauty causes many to refer to them as flying jewels. Hummers, as they are affectionately called by birders, are only located in the Western Hemisphere. Tiny, distinct, and notorious for the “hum” that their wings make in flight, hummingbirds offer both beauty and benevolence to the natural world.
The Hummingbird Species
Hummingbirds belong to the Trochilidae family, which is also their scientific name. The species are among the smallest birds in the world, ranging between 3 to 5 inches. There are over 300 different hummingbird species, only 17 of which live in the United States. The Ruby-Throated hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Blue-Throated Hummingbird, and Broad-tailed Hummingbird are among the most common of the species.
Hummingbirds as Physical Beings
Hummingbirds’ physical nature is part of what sets them apart from the rest of the world’s wild birds. The “hum” that their wings make in flight makes sense once you understand just how active these birds are. Hummingbirds can sustain long periods of hovering and are known for being acrobatic flyers. This is useful given that their feet are too small to support their body weight, which means they can’t walk. Instead, hummingbirds’ primary mode of transport is flight. They are so energetic that they actually have the highest in-flight metabolism of any bird species.
The birds’ long wings are tapered to give them even more agility in the air. They also have long, narrow, needle-like bills which help them lick nectar from flowers and feeders.
Hummingbirds, Flowers, and Food
Speaking of food and flowers, hummingbirds play an integral role in flower pollination. Certain flowers, especially those with elongated blooms, rely on hummingbirds to help them propagate.
As for their food sources, hummers eat almost exclusively nectar and small insects like gnats and spiders. While some experiment with fruit, they all steer clear of seeds, suet, bread, nuts, and scraps.
Because their metabolisms are always running at a rapid-fire pace, Hummingbirds are constantly on the hunt for food. This makes them ultra protective over food sources, which doesn’t bode well for their social standing. The birds tend to fight a lot and it is usually about chasing away predatory competition from flowers’ nectar.
If you are looking to attract hummingbirds to your backyard, consider planting a bird-friendly garden. Bee balms, cardinal flowers, trumpet creepers, coral honeysuckle, and columbines are particular favorites.
Another pro tip: create your own hummingbird water using sugar. Simply mix pure cane sugar with water in a ratio of 3 to 1, bring homemade nectar to a simmer, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Once it cools, fill your feeder with your own DIY nectar. Although hummingbirds aren’t fans of wild bird feed or most wild bird seed mixes, the good thing about the way they eat is that it’s a shoe-in for no-mess bird food!
Where to Find Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds can be found all along the Western Hemisphere. While those in North America tend to be migratory, tropical hummingbirds throughout South America, Central America, and the Caribbean usually stay put year-round.
The birds that stick it out for the cold winter months have a unique way of coping with dropping temperatures. They enter a state of torpor, which involves the birds cooling themselves to 5-10 degrees celsius. This intentional, sleep-like state involves slowing down their heartbeats, breathing, and other bodily functions so they can conserve energy. They even sometimes position themselves to be upside down! See below.
- Product Dimensions : 9.25 x 6 x 6 inches; 1.27 Pounds
- Holds 16 oz
- 6 hummingbird ports
- Easy to fill and clean
- Glass housing, plastic bottom port fixture
Sweet Seed All Natural Nectars for Hummingbirds is an all-natural formula which is infused with a blend of steam-distilled floral hydrosols carefully created from the flowers most visited by hummingibrds. Added calcium supports healthy egg development and electrolytes help maintain hydration.
Ingredients: Water, cane sugar, wild flower hydrosols, potassium chloride (electrolytes), citric acid, (pH adjustment), calcium carbonate.
Learn more about birding tips when you visit us at ValleyFarms®. Find bird food, supplies, and guidance on how to attract birds to your habitat year round!