Well, it’s that time of year again to dust off your hummingbird feeders and fill them with that delectable sugar nectar. I’m sure most of you know to use sugar and water, never use honey, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners or food coloring when making your homemade brew. I put my feeders up about a week ago and so far I have a whooping 2 Ruby-Throated hummingbirds, but I know they will soon be joined by many more. I normally put up at least 3 feeders in different locations so they can fly from one to the other, but all still in my line of vision so I can enjoy the show.
Here are some interesting facts about Hummingbirds:
Average weight 3 grams…a nickel weighs 4.5 grams.
They have 1000-1500 feathers, the fewest number of feathers of any bird.
The maximum speed they travel is 30 miles an hour, but can reach up to 60 miles an hour when they dive. Hummers can also fly backwards, and are the only group of birds able to do so.
When migrating, hummingbirds take very long flights – the Rufous makes the longest trip – more than 3000 miles from nesting grounds in Alaska & Canada to their winter habitat in Mexico.
The Ruby Throated hummingbird flies 500 miles non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico both in spring & fall migrations. Wow I find that to be amazing.
Their life span on average is 3-12 years.
These birds use their forked-shaped tongue to drink nectar and they can lick 1-15 times per second.
Hummingbirds need to consume about 1/2 of its body weight in sugar everyday. The average hummingbird will feed 5-8 times every hour.
Additionally, these birds need 8 times their body weight in water on a daily basis so they say a garden fountain with a small spray nozzle will help attract them. So far I haven’t seen mine drink from the fountain…..have any of you?
Despite their small size, hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive bird species and will regularly attack jays, crows & hawks that infringe on their territory and backyard birders often have one dominant hummingbird that guards all the feeders.
In closing, I have to say these precious flying jewels are one of my favorites and I never tire of watching them. So it’s off to the store to stock up on extra bags of sugar to make sure the feeders remain full until they head out leaving Oakridge on to their next journey.
[You’ll find a great recipe for homemade nectar for your feeders on the “Bird” tab of this website.]
The just completed Oakridge Ranch hummingbird census has been attached to the bird group tab. This has been an outstanding year for hummingbirds at Oakridge! We’ve included a few pictures here for your enjoyment. Click on any picture and enlarge it on your screen. The one above shows more than one hummingbird drinking from the same port at once! And one picture below is a fantastic shot of an Orchard Oriole invading a hummingbird feeder here at Oakridge.
As of this posting the majority of hummers appears to have left the Ranch. Let us know if you still have more than a handful…..click on “Leave a Reply” and keep us posted. Keep at least one feeder filled and you may have a few birds that winter here rather than flying south.
Saddle up, folks, it’s roundup time! Join Oakridge Ranch Wildlife Management Association (ORWMA) in a hummingbird survey. Your participation will help us to determine more about range, distribution, favored sites and feeding habits of hummingbirds. The survey is also a way to share information about their natural history.
Brenda LaVergne, our Birding Chairperson, requests your participation in our Hummingbird Census September 1 – 15, 2014. Please see the list below and begin your daily count. This month’s focus will be hummingbirds.
Thank you, Larry Petter President-ORWMA
Hummingbird Species 9/1-15 (Please use tick marks in count column)
The 2013 Summer Oakridge Hummingbird Census has begun. Today through Monday, September 2nd.
Count the number of hummingbirds of each species you see on your property during these seven days. Take pictures, keep track of how many times a day you need to refill your feeders, etc. Send all your information to “Attention: Birding”(in the subject line of your email) at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share you pictures with others here on the website.
Live life outdoors! Have fun watching these beautiful little birds!