As the year is nearing to end, signs are showing that springtime is finally approaching! We will finally hear the soft sounds of hummingbirds’ wings as they fly around again.
Known for their vibrant colors, these birds also serve as nature’s little helpers by being a pollinator. They help carry around pollen from one flower to another and this allows the plants to reproduce.
This kind of bird is native to America and often found in southwestern states like New Mexico, California, and Texas. Hummingbirds have more than 340 species and can be seen usually in the said places. They are one of the smallest birds in the world. Hummingbirds are so small that sometimes they are mistaken for a moth!
Watching hummingbirds can be mesmerizing and relaxing. Whether you are on your front porch or in hummingbird cams, these sweet creatures will entertain you all day long. If you want to learn more about them, here are a few fun facts that can help you out.
1. Where Their Name Came From
When I first heard about this bird, I initially thought that they are named like that because of how they chirp or sing. However, it is not because of their voices that they are named as such. It is because of their wings that produce that humming sound which their wings make as they fly. Their wings move about 10-15 times per second, it is so fast that you can only see a blur for where their wings should be.
2. They Have Weak Feet
It is mentioned before that hummingbirds are one of the smallest birds on our planet, which means they also have tiny feet that they can only use for scooting sideways. They can’t walk or hop with them. It is said that it is because of the evolution of this bird that made their feet small so they can weigh more lightly when flying. Their feet are not that unusable though, they also use their feet in preening their feathers that keep their feathers in top condition.
3. Hummingbirds Have The Fewest Feathers
Hummingbirds only have an estimated of over a thousand feathers. That is significantly fewer than the average number of feathers of other birds. You may think that it’s a disadvantage to this bird, but it actually makes the hummingbird more lightweight for more efficient flying. It may also be for the best because this bird has to clean each feather and align them properly for a safe and clean flight.
4. Their Heart Beats 12 Times Faster Than Humans
Their heartbeat rate is about up to 1,200 times per minute, that’s a lot of heartbeats in comparison to human’s 60-100 beats per minute. Even while they are at rest, their heartbeat rate is still higher than humans with 250 bpm which continues to amaze and intrigue scientists today. However, when hummingbirds go to sleep on a cold night, their heart rate goes as low as 50-180 beats per minute, a hibernating-like state.
5. These Birds Can See Further Than Us
Recently, researchers found out that hummingbirds have four types of cone cells that allow them to see in ultraviolet light, while humans have only three. This means that they see a lot more color than what we can see. Hummingbirds may see a combination of colors that’s outside the spectrum of human vision such as ultraviolet plus red, and ultraviolet plus yellow. They use this ability to help them pinpoint sources of their food.
6. Hummingbirds Have Excellent Memory
Hummingbirds have a brain that makes up 4.2% of their body weight. When we are talking about proportions, then hummingbirds have the largest brain in the group of wild birds. It is said that they can remember every flower they’ve been to and the ones in their territory. They also have what we call episodic memory that enables them to remember the location of the flowers they have dropped in on, and which flowers will provide them with a high amount of nectars.
After reading this article, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that hummingbirds are fascinating creatures. Unfortunately, a lot of species of this bird are endangered due to the loss of their natural habitats because of human development, agriculture, and countless other reasons. It’s important to protect these birds to save our nature. Everyone on our planet coexists with each other and when hummingbirds are gone, then it is only a matter of time for the plants, and ultimately, humanity.