As a child hummingbirds used to frequent my backyard, I remember going outside to watch them, mystified by their quick fluttering wings and gorgeous colors. Turns out, hummingbirds are truly the cutest birds in the world–and that’s according to science!
Hummingbirds flap their wings up to 50 times a second–if you have ever seen one up close you have witnessed the incredible speed their little wings can flutter at. When they are diving for something their wings can go even faster, beating up to 200 times per second.
Can you imagine if you could get your legs to move that quickly?! Just like the hummingbird we too might be able to travel 25-30 miles per hour (without a car). Hummingbirds are incredible creatures in tiny packages. These stunning high-res photos of hummingbirds left me breathless–I think I’ll install a bird feeder tonight!
Chris Morgan is a Scottish photographer that has gotten up close and personal with the hummingbird. While visiting Costa Rica’s Bosque De Paz, a 3,000 acre biological reserve full of gorgeous hummingbirds, Morgan captured some truly incredible photos. The first 3 photos of this post (including the one up top) were all taken by Chris Morgan.
Hummingbirds are the smallest birds on the planet. A penny weighs 2.5 grams, and a hummingbird can weigh anywhere between 2 and 20 grams.
Hummingbirds might be small but they are also smart. Their brain is 4.2% of their total body weight, meaning they have the largest brain for their body compared with the rest of the bird kingdom. Interestingly, the hummingbird is also very coordinated, it has the ability to fly forward, backwards, upside down, and even sideways.
Hummingbirds don’t care if you have bad breath or not, after all they have little to no sense of smell. As for their hearing and vision, both are better than humans! Plus hummingbirds can even see ultra violet lights, and they remember every flower they have every come into contact with.
Just like every other bird, hummingbirds have long beaks. They also have an extremely long tongue to go with it! When a hummingbird sticks out their tongue it’s pretty impressive. They do it often, in order to take in the nectar from flowers. Hang a bird feeder near your house and you can see the hummingbirds’ long tongues in action.
While hummingbird wings are the main focus for beats-per-minute, the hummingbirds’ heart beats up to 1,260 times per minute. The hummingbirds’ rapid heart makes up 2.5% of their total body weight.
It’s a real hummingbird fact: they like to perch on things. In fact hummingbirds spend the vast majority of their life hanging out on perches. The perched bird pictured below is a Ruby Throated Humming Bird.
In the summer this type of bird builds a nest as tiny as a walnut shell. In the winter, they travel from North Carolina to Costa Rica in search of warmer weather. Scientists estimate that it takes the Ruby Throat hummingbird a total of 20 hours to fly over the entire Gulf of Mexico.
Gorgeous and seemingly docile, it might be a surprise that male hummingbirds can be quite feisty. They will chase out other male hummingbirds that try and invade their territoty.
Perhaps because these tiny birds need a lot of resources, feeding around 7 times an hour. In only one day a hummingbird consumes anywhere from half to 8 times their body weight. This means visiting a lot of flowers each day, up to 1,000 to be exact. Hummingbirds also eat soft-body bugs–yum yum!
The average hummingbird lives to be 5 years old, although sadly most hummingbirds die within the first year of their life. To add some hope to your life, the oldest butterfly ever tracked and recored was 12.