When camping at the Chain O’ Lakes campground we have many wild companions also living at and visiting the campground with us. One such visitor many of us like to watch is the ruby throated hummingbird! The hummingbird with its ability to hover stationary in mid-air are fascinating birds. The vibrant colors of the males makes them an attractive sight to see. What do you know about the hummingbird?
Hummingbird Facts — Migration
Like many birds a hummingbird migrates south for the winter and returns for the summer months. They leave our region in the early fall and head for Central America. Hard to believe, but some of the hummers will overfly the Gulf of Mexico! Think about that, those teeny birds that seemingly feed four or five times per hour flying over that barren large body of water! I would guess they are mighty hungry by the time they finish!
The hummers return to the in Chain O’ Lakes campground the same time you are returning to the Chain O’ Lakes campground! So as soon as you get here set your feeders out the hummingbirds need it!
Hummingbird Facts — Feeding
We all know a hummingbird relishes sugar syrup and nectar, after all a feeder full of red-colored sugar syrup (real table sugar and water is all they need) is bound to have a swarm of hummingbirds fighting over it in little time. However, what else does a hummingbird eat?
In addition to the nectar and syrup hummingbirds need protein and other nutrients as well. They satisfy their additional nutritional needs by feeding on small insects and spiders. In fact, they feed their young almost exclusively these small insects and spiders.
When looking for nectar they prefer red and orange trumpet shaped flowers, but will work other type of flowers and will even get sap from trees when it is available.
If you want to setup feeders for hummingbirds experts suggest making a stronger batch of sugar-water at first and then as the hummingbirds get used to the feeder (and recover from their long migration) you can back off on the concentration and this will help to increase the number of their visits.
Hummingbird Facts — Habits
Hummingbirds are not very sociable with each other. Male and female hummingbirds will briefly “socialize” but other than that they do not keep each other’s company. Each hummingbird claims and defends a territory as its own and will chase away other hummingbirds. This is why you often see hummer dogfights around the feeder. Watch closely and you will see the “owner” feed and then zoom off to a nearby perch where it watches over “its” feeder. The “owner” will zoom down and chase away other hummingbirds you will hear the hum of their wings and pips as the chase commences!
Once in a while the hummingbirds will share.
Another interesting fact about hummingbirds is how fast they beat their wings. They beat their wings about 53 times per second and that is responsible for the hum we hear when they fly or hover nearby. Hummers can fly about 35 miles per hour and if we burnt calories at the same rate as do hummingbirds we would burn through 155,000 calories per day! That second visit to the buffet would not just be reasonable but a necessity!
Do you feed the hummingbirds and do you have any stories or photos to share?