Hummingbirds

May 25, 2014

Hummingbirds are birds from the Trochilidae family and are among the smallest of birds with most species measuring 3 to 5 inches. They are small, colorful birds with iridescent feathers and got their name from the humming sound that is caused by the flapping of their wings.

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They can fly right, left, up , down, backwards and even upside down. The hummingbird’s feet are used for perching only and not for hopping or walking.

Hummingbirds drink nectar and like bees they are able to assess the sugar content of the nectar they eat. Most species of hummingbirds have long bills adapted for feeding from flowers. Apart from nectars from flowers they also eat tree sap, insects and pollens.

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Due to the hummingbird’s fast breathing rate, fast metabolism rate and high body temperature they require an enormous amount of food each day. They consume more than their own weight in nectar each day which means they have to visit hundreds of flowers daily and are only able to store energy just enough to survive the night. They also have the ability to lower their metabolic rate by going into a hibernation-like state that helps them conserve energy while they sleep or when food source is scarce.

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Most of the hummingbirds of the US and Canada migrate south in the fall to spend winter in Central America. It is rather difficult to approximate the population of the hummingbirds as there are many different species over a large geographic area.

In the past hummingbirds will killed for their feathers but today they face various threats such as habitat loss and the Earth’s changing climate is affecting the migratory patterns of the birds causing them to stay rooted in one spot where it may be hard for them to look for food.

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