Sunday, December 5, 2010


It had been a busy day. While working in the yard, I watched hummingbirds and bees flying around the lemon tree. I heard them buzz by me a couple of times.

Hummingbirds are interesting little birds. They feed by opening their beaks slightly to allow their long tube-like tongue to slip into the flower for nectar. I've never seen this, but hummingbirds also eat insects by nabbing small bugs in flight or picking them off of spider webs.

If you're prone to hyperventilation, you don't want to hang out with a hummingbird. At rest, they take about 250 breaths per minute. Their little heart races as fast -- up to 1,200 beats per minute in flight.

There is a lot interesting hummingbird history. Hummingbirds don't exist in the Eastern Hemisphere. So, when Europeans arrived in the Americas, they had never seen anything like these colorful little birds that could fly every which way. The Europeans were fascinated. Columbus was so impressed that he presented the Pope with a hummingbird skin.

By the 1800's hummingbird skins were popular items in Europe. According to Hummingbird World, millions of hummingbird skins were shipped from South America to Europe for use in artificial flowers, dust catchers and ornaments.

Hummingbirds were also hot fashion items. Seems barbaric today, but in the early 1900's, hummingbird feathers and sometimes whole hummingbirds were used to decorate women's hats. Fortunately wearing dead birds held fashion for only a short period of time. By 1921, both the US and England passed laws limiting the feather trade.


Pasadena Adjacent said...

I love these bits of wee hummingbird fact. I keep the little ones pumped up on liquid nectar. They like to rest on the lines of a power pole that runs up my backyard. I've actually seen them pee from there.

Michael Coppess said...

Hummingbird pee. That's just funny.

Anonymous said...

Birds do not pee. See