8/30/2006

A Day in the Life of a Hummingbird

I'm officially on leave now as we await the arrival of our daughter. It's an adjustment to suddenly be on an extended vacation, since I'm used to spending my days moving as busy as a hummingbird.

Or do hummingbirds only appear to be busy?

Last evening, looking out the window into the side yard, I noticed a hummingbird stop to rest on a tree branch. Every few minutes she would go swooping over the house, presumably to visit the feeder on the back porch, and then return to the tree a minute later. What a life. Rest. Eat. Rest. Repeat.
Photo by StormyinGA


Another surprise was that I saw this same hummingbird swipe at a large insect. I thought hummingbirds only drank nectar! Come to find out, 50% of their diet is insects! So just putting out the feeders is nice, but the hummingbirds probably also like the flowers in my garden, since they attract more insects for them to munch on.

My husband asked another interesting question- do humming birds sleep? Yes, they actually can go into such a deep sleep-like state that sometimes people assume they are dead! The hummingbirds lower their metabolism at night by 95%, lowering their body temperature and conserving energy. They wake up automatically about an hour before dawn.

I'm going to take a look this week to see if I can spot a humming bird nest. Well I better bring along the binoculars. The nests are so tiny!



Source/Further reading: NC hummingbirds

9 comments:

La Gringa said...

Great picture of the hummingbird! We have lots of hummingbirds in Honduras, too, but I'm never quick enough to get a picture. I enjoy your blog!

Pam said...

I think that perhaps the hummingbirds have the right idea! On the coast today, we're a bit stuck indoors, hoping our gardens fare okay - so, all I'm doing is eating, resting, eating, resting...best of luck in the days to come!

Annie in Austin said...

A few years ago we got a photo of a hummingbird on her nest, about 10 feet up in a live oak. I'd seen the female going back and forth.

I hope there's one in your garden!
Just be careful while you're traipsing around looking for birds, young lady. Rest, eat, take picture, make a new post, rest.

I can't get onto Pam's blog - hope you and she have weathered Ernesto without too much trouble.

Nutbuk Ug Bulpin said...

Wow! Just a great photo of the hummingbird! And thanks for the info, I am actually curious about this beautiful, super elusive bird & why its tiny wings flap so fast. Now I know why 'cause it conserves its energy at night! I hope I can do that as well! :-)

Jill said...

I love hummingbirds! We always have feeders and flowers for them.

Christa said...

Great post! I didn't know that 50 percent of their diet consists of insects; I thought they only drank nectar. That's also interesting about how they sleep.

gary said...

Insects? Great! I'm going to get a feeder up as soon as possible. I wonder what they do in the winter.
Gary

Lindy said...

I like that you included a picture of the hummingbird's nest. It shows just how tiny they are!!

Once a friend of mine asked me why hummingbirds would be flying so low to the ground in his backyard. (It's not something that you often see). -Turns out they were feasting on gnats!! I guess that's where they get the protein in their diet.

Melvin said...

Great post.....Great picture of the hummingbird!!!!

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Melvin
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