Fantastic Facts About the Hummingbird

male ruby-throated hummingbird
The tiny hummingbird is an amazing creature to watch and study. It’s unique characteristics set it apart from the other birds that frequent my feeders.

Just study it’s appearance! The hummer has an iridescence on its feathers that make them sparkle like jewels. Light is reflected and intensified when it hits these feathers, making the colors change when viewed at different angles.

For example, a male ruby-throated hummingbird has a throat patch that looks brilliant red if the sun is shining on it. But when viewed from different angles, it will look deep orange, green or violet and if there is no light it will appear black.

Then there’s the hummingbird’s amazing flying abilities! They can actually fly in every direction; up, down, sideways, even upside down. (Although I’ve never seen it myself!)

When they are hovering, their wings rotate at the shoulder while the wing tips trace a horizontal figure eight, allowing them to move backward and forward.

Each species of hummingbirds has unique flight patterns they use to defend their territory, attract a mate or intimidate other hummingbirds (or humans) at the feeder. These visual displays are amazing to watch as the hummers fly, dive, swoop, and arc with precision and grace.

Hummingbirds can reach speeds of 60 miles an hour in flight and fly long distances, including 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico.

All that beauty and flying ability is packed into a tiny package! A ruby-throated hummingbird weighs just 1/10 of an ounce and is just 3 3/4 inches long.

What an amazing creature!

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