Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh, to have the Metabolism of a Hummingbird!

Every morning I wake up to the sounds of a plethora of hummingbirds dive- bombing our feeders on the back porch. The chirping and trilling whistle of wings in flight even drowns out the chickens. Sleeping in late is virtually impossible in the summer months, thanks to these feisty little birds.

The Broad Tailed hummingbirds  with red throats are usually the first to arrive in late April, and  I put my feeders up at the first hummingbird sighting in the backyard.  Things stay rather peaceful at the feeders until the aggressive Rufous hummingbirds arrive on the scene in July. Those little guys are all about drama!  They are soooo territorial that they sit perched in the honeysuckle vines next to the feeders and try to fight off every other bird that comes in for nectar.  The battles that ensue are reminiscent of  the dog-fights that jets have in the movie "Top Gun". It's terribly entertaining to watch in the early morning and late evening hours.

 This little bird flew into our house yesterday and couldn't find it's way out, so I caught it in the window sill.  For a brief moment it stayed perched on my finger until it remembered how to fly again.

Hummingbirds are one of God's most fascinating little creatures!  Here are some fun facts to share:

They are the tiniest birds in the world!

Their heart can beat up to 1,260 times per minute. That's 21 times per second!  When resting, the heart beats 250 times per minute.

Because of their fast heartbeat and tiny size, the hummingbird has a mighty metabolism.  If humans had the metabolism of a hummingbird, we would have to consume 155,000 calories a day to survive! That's 77 times the amount that humans eat!

The hummingbirds wings beat an average of 70 times per second, but that can increase to over 200 times per second when they're diving.  This is why they can hover in air and fly forwards, backwards, sideways, and even upside down.

A hummingbird can fly 25-30 miles an hour.

They eat an average of 7 times per hour for 30-60 seconds each time, and can eat up to 8 times their body- weight each day.

The hummingbird can visit up to 1,000 flowers per day in search of nectar.

I can't even begin to tell you about their fascinating ability to hibernate in a state of Torpor every night.  You must research this amazing trait that allows them to survive without food over- night.

I think hummingbirds are compact little fire-balls full of heart and determination, and that's why I love them so much!

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