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If you couldn’t already tell, there’s a lot of interest in hummingbirds at Morning Bray Farm this summer.

We realized we really didn’t know anything about them, so we went in search of facts. The following is from worldofhummingbirds.com and is absolutely fascinating.

It’s a lot of information, but well worth reading. I’ve bolded what I think are the particularly interesting bits.

  • Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world.
  • Hummingbirds can flash their bright colors, as well as hide them when needed.
  • The bright radiant color on hummingbirds comes from iridescent coloring like on a soap bubble or prism.
  • A hummingbird’s brain is 4.2% of its body weight, the largest proportion in the bird kingdom.
  • Hummingbirds are very smart and can remember every flower they have been to, and how long it will take a flower to refill.
  • Hummingbirds can hear better than humans.
  • Hummingbirds can see farther than humans.
  • Hummingbirds can see ultraviolet light.
  • Hummingbirds have no sense of smell.
  • A hummingbird will use its tongue to lap up nectar from flowers and feeders.
  • A hummingbird’s tongue is grooved like the shape of a “W”.
  • Hummingbirds have tiny hairs on the tip of the tongue to help lap up nectar.
  • A hummingbird’s beak is generally shaped like any other bird beak, just longer in proportion to its body.
  • A hummingbird’s bottom beak is slightly flexible.
  • Hummingbirds do not drink though their beaks like a straw. They lap up nectar with their tongues.
  • A hummingbird’s heart beats up to 1,260 times per minute.
  • A hummingbird’s heart beats about 250 times per minute at rest.
  • A hummingbird’s heart is 2.5% of the total body weight.
  • A hummingbird will take about 250 breaths per minute while at rest.
  • A hummingbird’s metabolism is roughly 100 times that of an elephant.
  • Hummingbirds have very weak feet and can barely walk. They prefer to fly.
  • Hummingbirds like to perch.
  • Hummingbirds spend most of their life perching.
  • The hummingbird’s body temperature is about 107 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
  • A hummingbird can weigh anywhere between 2 and 20 grams. A penny weighs 2.5 grams.
  • 30% of a hummingbird’s weight consists of flight muscles. Human pectoral muscles are about 5% of body weight.
  • Female hummingbirds are usually larger than male hummingbirds.
  • An average sized hummingbird will have about 940 feathers.
  • Females find iridescent feathers attractive.
  • Hummingbirds do not mate for life.
  • Male hummingbirds do not help raise the young.
  • Female hummingbirds do all the nest building.
  • A hummingbird baby is about the size of a penny.
  • Females will lay a clutch of two eggs.
  • Baby hummingbirds cannot fly.
  • Baby hummingbirds will remain in a nest for three (3) weeks.
  • Most hummingbirds die in the first year of life.
  • Hummingbirds have an average life span of about 5 years.
  • Hummingbirds can live for more than 10 years.
  • Male hummingbirds are very aggressive and will chase another male hummingbird out of its territory.
  • A hummingbird’s wings will beat about 70 times per second.
  • Hummingbird’s wings will beat up to 200 times per second when diving.
  • Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly both forward and backwards.
  • Hummingbirds can also hover in mid-air, fly sideways and even upside-down.
  • A hummingbird can fly an average of 25-30 miles per hour.
  • A hummingbird can dive up to 60 miles per hour.
  • A hummingbird’s wings will rotate in a full circle.
  • Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have been known to travel 500 miles over the Gulf of Mexico to breeding grounds.
  • It is estimated that a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird takes about twenty (20) hours to fly across the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Some hummingbirds will travel over two-thousand (2,000) miles twice a year during migration times.
  • The Rufous Hummingbird travels the farthest north of any other hummingbird to migrate. All the way from Mexico to Alaska.
  • A hummingbird can eat anywhere from half (1/2) to eight (8) times its body weight a day.
  • A hummingbird will visit an average of 1,000 flowers per day for nectar.
  • Hummingbirds eat small soft bugs for protein.
  • A hummingbird will lap up nectar at a rate of about 13 licks per second.
  • Hummingbirds can double his/her weight before migration.
  • There are more than 300 types or species of hummingbirds.
  • Hummingbirds don’t really sing, they chirp.
  • A hummingbird’s favorite color is red.
  • Hummingbirds like tubular type flowers the most.
  • Hummingbirds pollinate flowers by rubbing their forehead and face in each flower as they get the nectar.
  • Many plants depend on hummingbirds for pollination.
  • Hummingbirds get their name from the humming sound produced by their wings when flying.
  • Early Spanish explorers called hummingbirds flying jewels. ♥

As we were walking back to the house after mowing the grass yesterday afternoon, something buzzed haphazardly by my head. Turns out it was Harry, the baby hummingbird.

I’m not sure what it is with us and hummingbirds this summer. After watching Harry sputter and land in the hot sun on the ground in the corral, I went over to make sure he was alright. I think Harry was tuckered out from what must have been his maiden flight, because he stepped right onto my finger without a moment’s hesitation.

I handed Harry over to Don and ran into the house to get the camera, and Don took Harry to the feeder. Harry was happy.

We then took Harry into the shade of one of our cottonwood trees. Look at his teeny, tiny feet.

Harry sat cooling off on Don’s palm for quite a while. We stood there quietly with him.

Okay, Harry, it’s time for you to go back to being a hummingbird now.

Don gently moved Harry to one of our crape myrtles. Harry sat there for a few moments, then flew away.

May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live, Harry.

There has been more activity at the nest outside our kitchen window this past week. When we looked out yesterday, we watched as a hummingbird appeared to be feeding something in the nest. This picture was taken through the kitchen window:

When the hummingbird flew off, we ran outside to see if there were babies in the nest. Don climbed up on our porch railing…

…and yes, there are two babies in the nest. 

June over at Aging Gratefully asked about this nest a couple of times. We’re pretty sure these babies were delivered just for her. ♥

Right outside our kitchen window, a hummingbird sits in her nest. The nest is leftover from last year and was built on top of one of our porch swing chains. To give you some perspective, not much more than a quarter would fit easily into the nest.

I wish we could figure how to get a better picture without disturbing her or the nest. For now, we’ll stick to taking pictures through the window. In the meantime, you should check out this post from one of Carson’s visits to Morning Bray Farm last summer, when she took some amazing photos of our hummer babies.