Monday, September 27, 2021

List: Ten interesting facts about hummingbirds that you probably didn't know.

It's no secret that I'm literally OBSESSED with hummingbirds.  Every day that I work from home, I anxiously await a little hummingbird to say hi through the window while sipping some homemade nectar from the window feeder (link)Yes, of course I cook for the hummingbirds..

We're not the only ones that caught onto my obsession.  Pinterest did as well!  Every time that I log in to scroll through my feed for new ideas, there's always a few hummingbird articles that catch my eye.  After reading through many of these articles, I decided to proclaim myself a hummingbird expert.  Now that I have a new title under my belt, it is only natural for me to make a post with ten amazing facts about hummingbirds!

everything you need to know about hummingbirds

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Ten interesting facts about hummingbirds.

1.  Hummingbirds have fantastic memories and almost always return.
For such a small creature, one would easily assume that hummingbirds don't have the greatest memories.  Insert obnoxious BUZZ sound.  Well, it turns out that couldn't be farther from the truth!  Hummingbirds remember everything, right down to the location of a specific plant and the location where they hatched.  This makes it extremely important that feeders are reliable and consistent.

Idea:  Don't move feeder locations mid-season and wait until after dark to refill them.  If a hummingbird stumbles across a dry food source, they will move on to a reliable food source and may never return again.

2.  Hummingbird nests are the size of a thimble.
I always knew that hummingbird nests were small because you know, hummingbirds are tiny.  What I didn't realize was HOW small.  A nest is about the size of a thimble and the eggs are the size of a jelly bean.  That's not just small, it's practically magically tiny!

3.  Hummingbird nests are made of spiderwebs.
When I was researching how to find a hummingbird nest which the answer was basically 'you don't', I learned that their nests are mostly made of spiderwebs.  This unique material provides a comfortable nest that is flexible enough to stretch as the babies grow.

Note:  Many people talk about their hummingbird houses and provide false advertisements about it.  Hummingbirds do NOT live in houses.  They are nesting birds.  Don't waste your money unless you're simply looking for a decoration for your home.

4.  Hummingbirds randomly go into a sleep like state to conserve energy.
On the birding boards, many people express concern for hummingbirds that randomly flopped over in a sleep-like state while at the feeders.  This is natural and not cause for alarm.  It conserves energy and is known as torpor.  These little guys use so much as energy to survive, that torpor is necessary for their survival.

everything you need to know about hummingbirds

5.  Hummingbirds don't only eat nectar.
When my window feeder (link) started attracting ants, I freaked out.  I started researching ways to discourage the ants when I stumbled across a fun fact.  Hummingbirds eat small insects, including ants!  What I thought was a problem ended up being a nice addition to the menu for my little hummer friends.

Note:  If you have a hanging hummingbird feeder (link) and the ants are really becoming a nuisance, there's a handy little contraption does a fabulous job of solving the problem without any chemicals.  This umbrella shaped ant moat (link) is all that you need!

6.  Hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly backwards.
While I've seen it happen, I never really thought about it before.  Of all the birds that I've seen and we all know that's way too many birds, hummingbirds are the only ones that I've seen fly backwards or have the ability to hover in place.

7.  Hummingbirds have a short life expectancy.
Hummingbirds are the prime example of survival of the fittest.  Because of predators, high stakes regarding food source, and simply because of their size, the majority of hummingbirds don't make it past the first year of life.  This sad fact can be balanced out by the fact that the ones that do survive past year one, live for several years.  Hummingbirds in captivity have longer life spans that can reach 14 years.

Note:  The oldest wild ruby throated hummingbird ever recorded was 9 years old.

8.  Hummingbirds migrate very long distances.
Ruby throated hummingbirds travel from my house which is on Long Island all the way to southern Mexico and South America!  That's a real long flight for these little guys.  It's even longer for the hummers that spend the warmer months in Canada.

9.  Hummingbirds are attracted to moving water.
During my research of attracting hummingbirds, I learned that adding a solar powered fountain (link) to a bird bath attracts them.  Since hummingbirds are attracted to moving water, one can find them bathing in the mist of a fountain or even your sprinklers!

10.  Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red.
Hummingbirds are able to see more vivid colors than we are able to.  Because of this, they're attracted to flowers with bright colors such as pink, yellow, and red!  Did you ever notice that most hummingbird feeders are red?  This is why.  In fact, skip the feeders that aren't red.  I bought a blue one once and it ended up being a flop!

Note:  Some people try to make money off of fact #10 by selling jugs of red "hummingbird food".  Red food dye is actually harmful to the birds and is not necessary in attracting them.  Instead, opt for a red hummingbird feeder (link) and make your own nectar.  Click here for the simple recipe! (link)

Have you ever seen a wild hummingbird?


  1. I'd totally love to be able to hover in place! I wonder what do the spiders say about their webs being used as nests?

    1. I saw this video last week of a poor little hummingbird that got stuck in a spider web! She was literally crying with these high pitched, whiny chirps. It had me near tears watching the video. Luckily the person holding the camera came to the bird's rescue.

    2. Ya think da spider would've eaten da bird??? How positively gruesome.

  2. The hummingbirds love our butterfly bushes. That’s interesting about the moving water, because I want to buy a solar powered fountain next year, if we EVER get our landscaping project off the ground. It’s very cool to see them fly backwards, but I didn’t realize they were the only bird capable of that. I think they are gone for the year here, but I’ve been enjoying the monarch butterfly migration the past week.

    1. Ours left too. Last week I commented to my daughter that the hummingbirds got super chunky. I made a predication they'd be gone soon to burn off the extra weight that they gained for the journey. Sure enough, that was the last time I saw them. I do have my feeder out still just in case.

  3. I love hummingbirds. They are such interesting little creatures. I have one that likes to keep an eye on my feeder. I'll see him sitting on the highest branch of my pine tree (you'd never know it was there unless you've seen him fly there before) and just watch over the feeder LOL.


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