You probably don’t keep birds in your bedroom like Catia Lattouf does. But you might spot one outside your window in spring. Mexico City has 22 species of hummingbird. The whole country of Mexico has 57 species. Altogether, the Americas have around 350 species.
How well do you know your “hummers”?
What’s in a name? Hummingbirds don’t hum with their voices. They hum with their wings! The tiny wings flap about 50 times per second—fast enough to make a hmmm sound.
Flap. Flap. FLAP! Do these birds remind you of helicopters? They can fly up, down, and sideways! Their wings do all the work. They use their weak feet mainly for perching, not walking or hopping. But who needs strong feet when you can fly 500 miles without stopping? Still, even hummingbirds need a break sometimes. When they lack food for energy, they go into torpor—hummingbird hibernation.
Is it a bug? Or a bird? Some hummingbirds weigh just about as much as a single sheet of paper. They usually measure shorter than a soda can. They lay eggs the size of jellybeans. Each hummer has over 900 feathers—fewer than most birds.
A sugary diet. Would you love to eat sugar for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Hummingbirds would. Fill your hummingbird feeder with a mixture of four parts water and one part sugar. Hummers’ bodies burn right through glucose (sugar). They visit about 1,000 flowers each day and use their chopsticks-style beaks to grab bugs out of the air for a snack.
When will they be back? Hummingbirds can endure cold weather. But in winter they migrate to wherever flowers are growing. Live in North America? Look for the first hummers between early March and May.