Interesting Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Facts

1. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are easily attracted to plants especially those that produce red flowers. Each day, they consume food twice their body weight. You can identify these small birds that normally hover above the plant and extract nectar using their long beaks.

2. They prefer different flowering plants like the red buckeye, jewelweed, columbine, trumpet creeper, red morning glory, trumpet- or coral-honeysuckle, fly-honeysuckle, cardinal flower, catchflies and fire-pink.

3. There are five species of hummingbirds in Canada. Apart from the ruby-throated specie, the other four are the rufous hummingbird, calliope hummingbird, black-chinned hummingbird and Anna¡¦s hummingbird.

4. In Canada, the ruby-throated specie is found mostly in the east such as in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, southern Quebec and Ontario. It is also seen in southern Manitoba, central Saskatchewan and central and southeastern Alberta.

5. These birds have very short legs the reason why it cannot walk or hop. But then again, it can still scratch its head and neck by raising its foot up and over its wings.

6. Their populations in Canada are healthy. Bad weather, predation as well as accidents pose serious threats.

7. Did you know that hummingbirds play a vital role in our ecosystem as pollinators? While visiting a flower, it gets dusted with pollen which the bird brings to another flower of the same species.

8. In spring, both adult and young hummingbirds go through a complete shedding of all feathers called molting.

9. The longest lifespan recorded for hummingbirds is at least nine years for females and five years for males. The higher mortality in males is attributed to weight loss during the breeding season as a result of a high energy demand in defending territories and migration.

10. A study at the Powdermill Nature Reserve in Pennsylvania has found that the average annual survivorship of hummingbirds is 31 percent for males and 42 percent for females.

11. These tiny birds also drink water. They normally fly down like a swallow to the water¡¦s surface, touch it with their bill and leave widening rings to mark the site where they drank.

12. A distinct feature of hummingbirds is their skillful flight. It flies at very fast speed, changing directions in the air and darting away like a small arrow. It can also hover in place while in the air which other birds are not capable of doing. Scientists have also recorded the bird¡¦s rate of wing beats at about 55 to 75 beats per second.


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