Running from the Law: Hummingbirds

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Last time I was at the Farm I had the opportunity to get some good use out of my telephoto lens.  Dad and Kelly have a hummingbird feeder in the front yard and it was the place to be for hummingbird action.  It was great practice shooting fast action on high speed continuous.  I think I took about 300 pictures!  A lot of them were blurry but I think I got some good ones.  And while I'm at it, I thought I'd make this an informative's everything you ever wanted to know (and more) about hummingbirds.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the most common hummingbird species in North America.  It is the only species of hummingbird that regularly nests east of the Mississippi River.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is 7–9 cm long with an 8–11 cm wingspan, and weighs about 3 grams. Adults are metallic green above and greyish white below, with near-black wings.
Their bill is long, straight and very slender. 
The adult male has a ruby red throat patch which may appear black in some lighting and a dark forked tail.
Ruby-throats are intensely inquisitive and easily attracted to feeders.  Hummingbirds quickly become accustomed to human presence and will swoop down to investigate red articles of clothing, possibly as potential food sources.
The bird that claims a feeder as its territory may spend much of the day perched nearby, guarding the food source against intruders. Males in particular typically display aggressive territoriality toward rival hummers, other birds, and even insects such as bees, butterflies and moths. 
Aggressive and territorial. 
That is...until he sees a pretty lady.
Well, hello Beautiful. 
Please, join me.
Can I buy you a drink?
You first, I insist.
My turn?  Ok.
Want to do it together? 
That was sweeeeeeet. 
It's sugar-water.

Adult female hummingbirds have an emerald green back, white breast and throat.
They also have a rounded tail with white tips.
Females are larger than the males and have a longer bill.
And they're not nearly as aggressive or territorial.
They have friends and share nicely.

MORE hummingbird facts? 
You got it!

Muscles make up 25-30% of hummingbirds' body weight. They have long, blade-like wings that connect to the body only from the shoulder joint. This adaptation allows the wing to rotate almost 180° - they are the only bird that can fly forwards, backwards, up, down, sideways and hover in mid air.
Hummingbirds have no sense of smell.
Percentage wise, the hummingbird has the largest brain of all birds (4.2% of its total body weight).
During migration, hummingbirds make a non-stop 500 mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.
Hummingbirds can beat their wings up to 80 times a second during normal flight and up to 200 times per second during a courtship dive.
Hummingbirds can average speeds of 20 to 30 miles per hour.
During courtship dives hummingbirds can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour!
Hummingbirds eat nectar from flowers and flowering trees, as well as small insects and spiders. Hummingbirds show a slight preference for red, tubular flowers as a nectar source. The birds feed from flowers using a long extendendable tongue.
Hummingbirds have very weak feet and use them mainly just for perching.
Are those not the cutest little hummingbird feet you've ever seen?!
And...that's all folks.

Hope you enjoyed today's installment of useless information accompanied by pictures. 

I have no idea why I felt the need to educate you on hummingbirds.

I think this might just be my weirdest post yet.

Until tomorrow's post on bees.

I need a life.


  1. Please tell me you had to Google that information. Because if you pulled that out of your head I am getting on the next flight to STL and taking you out for a beer! JK. Beautiful pictures of the hummingbirds!

  2. Hahaha! Yes, Google was necessary. I am no bird expert. I'm not even a big fan of birds. One of the hummingbirds buzzed me and I went screaming into the house. Pathetic.

  3. Haha! This post was great. I had no idea they had no sense of smell... that's weird. Fantatic pictures!

  4. Aw, I love hummingbirds. Justin and I got married at a place called "The Hummingbird House". They're kind of special to me :)

    PS. Amazing pictures!

  5. You are hilarious!! Love the pics!

  6. wow, that's amazing that you could get those photos! I'm so impressed!

  7. Amazing pictures & such a fun post about - what my daughter used to call them when she was 3 - "humpingbirds." ;)