Hummingbirds Headed Our Way

Reservations required. Photo by B.Olson, Sept 4, 2013.
Reservations required. Photo by B.Olson, Sept 4, 2013.

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.

Happy Birding,
Beverly Olson

[You’ll find a great recipe for homemade nectar for your feeders on the “Bird” tab of this website.]

One thought on “Hummingbirds Headed Our Way”

  1. Awesome article Beverly, I’m very new to hummingbird feeding and decided that this summer is going to be the time I try it out. I went ahead and ordered an insect proof feeder from a review I found at http://wildlifefeeders.reviews/best-hummingbird-feeder-reviews-of-2015-2016/ and was wondering your thoughts. So many questions and I’m going to be giddy with excitement till my feeder arrives. I know a feeding mix can be similar but a few people like to add in their own secret ingredients, do you have a preferred ratio of sugar to water? Or any other tips? Thanks for the wonderful article and best of luck hummingbird watching!!!

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