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National Hummingbird Day

Today is a day to think about those tiny birds that love to hover over flowers.  Did you know that there are more than 300 different types of hummingbirds?  Their home is in the North and South Americas mostly.  The name comes from the humming sound made by their wings when in flight.

We at Private Home Health Care thought we would share a few interesting facts about these fast moving and petite birds.

  1. Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly in all different directions. Front, back sideways and upside down.  Rain doesn’t bother them because they can shape rain drops off their head as fast as 132 times per second!
  2. For a small bird they are very hungry.  They have a metabolism almost 100 times faster than an elephant!   You will find them eating every 10-15 minutes.  They love nectar of course but they also eat ants, gnats, mosquitoes (yeah!) and wasps.  Each day they check between 1,000 and 2,000 flowers a day!
  3. Females care for the two eggs that they lay and they build the nest.  They tend their babies for approximately three weeks.  Lest you think Dad is a loafer, he spends his time defending the nest from predadors.
  4. Every year a small number of hummingbirds migrate.  They travel alone and go over hundreds or thousands of miles.  They are day travelers, resting at night.
  5. For such a small bird they are very fast and they have endurance.  Their wings flap at 70 times per second.  Compare that to a Blue Jay that flaps only 40 times per second.
  6. Hummingbirds go into a very deep sleep called a “torpor”.  It’s almost like a hibernation with their metabolism and heart beat lowering.
  7.  Did you realize that a hummingbird’s brain is bigger than ours by percentage of weight?  A human’s brain is 2% of our body weight.  The hummingbird’s brain is up to 4.2% of its body weight.
  8. The hummingbird’s sense of sight and sound are superb. They help them find their favorite flower, red ones with tubular shapes, and others filled with nectar.  Don’t look for them to find flowers by scent however since they don’t have a sense of smell.

Private Home Health Care hopes that you’ve enjoyed reading about hummingbirds.  We have had a chance to see some eating the nectar from our Rose of Sharon bush.  It’s so exciting to see them in action! 

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