About The Ruby-throated Hummingbird
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird only measures 3 ¾ long but it has the widest range of all North American Hummingbirds. It has a long, straight and slender bill that it uses to suck out nectar from flowers. The head and back of the hummingbird is iridescent green while its under parts are white. The male Hummingbird has a glossy ruby-red throat and a dark forked tail. Female Hummingbirds have green upper parts and whitish under parts and a dark rounded tail with white tips. The female hummingbird does not have a ruby-red throat.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird Nesting Preferences
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds begin their breeding season in March and end in July with May being the height of the breeding season. During this time, the male Hummingbird returns to the breeding zone to look for a good nesting place before the female arrives. Courtship begins when the female comes with the male Hummingbird flying back and forth in a perfect arc. The hummingbirds wings beat up to 200 times per second during courtship as opposed to the normal 90 beats.
Once a mate has been chosen, the female then proceeds to build a nest which is normally built on a narrow limb of a tree and measures one and a half inches across. Alders are often used, as the bird prefers to nest over water.
The female hummingbird then lays 2 white eggs that it incubates for about 16 days during which the mother sits on her eggs for about 60-80% of the day. Sometimes, two broods are raised per season. The male Hummingbird plays no role in rearing the young after the eggs are hatched. Often it even goes off to find another mate.
Building a Birdhouse For The Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are not known to dwell in man-made nest boxes although some makers suggest a generic birdhouse for wild birds using naturally friendly naturally occurring materials like wood and leaves and whatever other materials the Hummingbird may be comfortable in.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird Mating Habits
The male Ruby-throated Hummingbird is not monogamous and in fact may leave the nest to look for another partner when the eggs are hatched. It does, however, go through elaborate courtship rituals like flying back and forth in a perfect arc at double the normal speed and singing during the breeding season in its effort to entice a female hummingbird to be its partner.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird Feeding Preferences
The primary food source of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds is nectar. Using its long and slender beak, it goes from one flowering plant to the next. These flowering plants include honeysuckle, petunias, nasturiums, and lilacs. It also feeds on the sap that runs out of holes made by the yellow-bellied sap sucker. Hummingbirds prefer to eat from plants that produce red flowers. Hummingbirds eat double their body weight every day.
Interesting Ruby-throated Hummingbird Facts
Hummingbirds can fly backwards, upside down and hover. These are not common aerial tricks among birds. They also have the fewest number of feathers ever counted on a bird. Moreover, the Ruby-throated species has the most rapid wing beat at 78 beats per second..