Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds

Who hasn’t the fantastic world of hummingbirds ever called? No wonder, because seeing them is fantastic and they are very beautiful to look at. I’m sure if you find out more about these birds and how many species there are, you’ll be speechless.

Types of hummingbirds

What’s a hummingbird?

The hummingbird is better known as the troquilinos, and is a subfamily of the trochilidae. Generally, they are known as hummingbirds, but they are also called quindes, tucusitos, picaflores, suckers or suckers.

They originate from the American continent. In the past, they were heavily hunted and killed in order to decorate the hats of women of high stature, which surely led to the extermination of several species.

humming bird

They are the smallest birds in the world, measuring between 5 – 10 cm in the vast majority. However, there is one known as the giant hummingbird, which is 25 cm long. In addition, they stand out for their beautiful colors, one of the main reasons why they were hunted. Another of its fantastic features is its long beak. The sword-pointed hummingbird is the longest beak of the species, with a length of 10 cm.

How does a hummingbird live?

The truth is that the type of life the hummingbird leads will depend very much on the species to which it belongs. Most of them are usually quite sedentary birds, which do not like other hummingbirds entering their territory.

Many cases of hummingbirds have been found to have died in fighting over territories. They like to defend their place of food. Males are not very good parents, since they do not mate with only one female, but they can reach ten in each tail season and it is the female who takes care of the eggs and the little ones once they are born.

With humans, they can also be quite violent. Several cases have been documented of people being attacked by this type of bird, especially when they have seen their food area in danger.

Interestingly, some hummingbirds live in human gardens, feeding on their plants or surviving on the feeders that people make for them.

What is the life expectancy of a hummingbird?

The truth is that the life expectancy of a hummingbird is quite varied. The average is found in the 5 years of life, but in some cases, specimens have been detected that have reached 10 years of life.

flying hummingbird

Those living in urbanized areas are at higher risk of dying young. Mainly because they are one of the most common prey of stray or domestic cats that hunt them in parks and gardens.

Is it easy to tell the male from the female?

Differentiating the male from the female from a hummingbird can be difficult. In some specimens, there is little difference between them, so you can only use DNA testing to find out their sex.

hummingbird male or famele

Differentiating the male from the female from a hummingbird can be difficult. In some specimens, there is little difference between them, so you can only use DNA testing to find out their sex.

Could you have a hummingbird as a pet?

Generally, the hummingbird is a symbol related to freedom. In some countries, pet ownership is prohibited, but it is not uncommon to find specimens on the street that are young and have suffered a mishap.

In these cases it is good to help them to become stronger. Hummingbirds need to live in a cage that is large enough to have enough room to fly, with some vegetation. They must have fresh water and a diet of ground insects to receive protein.

They are often easily stressed when they find themselves deprived of their freedom to fly wherever they want, which is why the cage has to be large. Once they have recovered, they must be released. Because of their ease of stress, it is not a good idea to approach them often to bother them. Neither should placing the cage in a place of excessive activity. It’s also not good for him to be outdoors, because it can cause him great depression to know that he can’t get out of the cage.

You don’t have to keep this bird locked up to keep it as a pet. In fact, some people have hummingbirds in their gardens with whom they have a very good relationship. It is true that hummingbirds feed mainly on the nectar they extract from flowers, but there are other ways to attract them.

The most common is to use a water fountain with sugared water. To do this, mix four cups of water with one cup of sugar, leave it to cool and colour it in a drinking trough that is hung at a good height and has a bright colour. Occasionally it must be washed to prevent the hummingbird from becoming a victim of an infection or disease. Other people leave them nectar feeders, so they don’t have to extract it from the plants.

Is it possible to train a hummingbird?

You’ve probably seen some videos of hummingbirds following the orders of a human being. This answers your question: it is possible to train a hummingbird.

However, since hummingbirds are a kind of bird that usually likes freedom and it is cruel to have them locked up in a house in a cage, there are few cases in which one has been able to tame them. They are not as patient as parrots or agarponis. But if you get used to the person, they can be quite friendly.

What does feeding a hummingbird consist of?

Hummingbirds feed mainly on the nectar they extract from the flowers. They do this to get calories that allow them to fly and flap their wings at that speed. This also helps to pollinate the squares, as they distribute their pollen from flower to flower. In fact, it is thanks to this small task that the hummingbird performs that many species of flowers can survive.

The feeding of this bird is rich in sugar, which allows the flying style that involves a large consumption of energy. They are especially attracted to red or orange flowers.

exotic bird

It is true that their main food is nectar, but not only can they feed on sugar. They also require a lot of protein. That is why 20% of their food is composed of small insects. They mainly hunt them on the leaves of trees or their trunks, like ants or worms. You may also feed on insects that you hunt on the fly, such as wasps and bees, especially if they are trying to take your food source away from you.

On rare occasions it will feed on the sap of the trees. However, in the event that a woodpecker has made a breach through which it emerges, it will use it to feed on it.

How do hummingbirds reproduce?

The truth is that one could say that the hummingbird is a very selfish bird when it comes to reproduction. To arouse the female’s interest, she performs a dance, and if she is interested, she will proceed to the mating process.

Once the female has been fertilized, she builds a nest, lined on the inside with spider web, cotton, lichen and moss, in the shape of a canopy, in low shrubs. The eggs that are usually laid so two, there is rarely a laying of three, with a difference of one day each.

cage of a hummingbird

These eggs are hatched by the female for about 14 – 19 days. The mother feeds the young for three or four weeks. During this time, the female can leave and return to the nest up to 140 times a day to feed her young. Children do not leave the nest immediately, but may take up to two months to leave. At two months they are independent enough by one month of age, but in that time they return to the nest at night, because that is where they feel most secure, and they do not go looking for a new home until they are two months old.

How is your relationship with human beings?

Hummingbirds are one of the most popular birds in the world and many people love them. In the past, talismans were worn in the form of hummingbirds, as a symbol of strength. They also became symbols of energy and work in many cultures, as a representation that “a group capable of teamwork will be capable of great things”.

In wartime, the role of the hummingbird was different. For the men it was a representation to protect their people. Since the beak was considered to be “very strong”, it was associated with weapons and bloodshed. The god of war and the sun, Huitzilopochti, of the Ohlone culture holds a hummingbird in his left hand. This god brought the gift of fire to the earth for human beings. With this, people believe that the hummingbird is a symbol of protection.

flying bird

In other stories, such as Noah’s Ark, they indicate that it was a hummingbird and not a dove that found land. This is explained in the legend of Pima, although the history of the dove is the most popular. In the world of animation it has also been a bird that has been used to captivate children, in adaptations such as Cinderella and Pocahontas, reflecting a type of bird that was attracted to a beautiful heroine.

The main causes of mortality of a hummingbird

Unfortunately, the life expectancy of a hummingbird is not too high, especially if they live in the wild. One of the leading causes of death associated by experts is the possibility that the hummingbird may have diabetes.

The hummingbird covers 80% of its diet with the sugar it gets from the nectar of flowers, allowing it to move its wings so quickly and flutter in such a peculiar way from one side to the other. But this is also very dangerous for them, and in most cases causes their death at a very young age.

The second cause of death is the abandonment of the young by the father. In the hummingbird species, it is the mother who has to take care of the nest, and this often causes it to remain empty and unprotected. Faced with this, many predators take advantage of the situation to get their hands on one of the chicks to feed on them.

Battles among other hummingbirds is another major cause of mortality within this species. Because the birds are so territorial, the clashes between the birds are very typical, and this causes either one of them to be badly injured, or in the worst case to die during that battle.

sunrise humming bird

The cat is one of the main predators of these birds. They take advantage when they are perched on the trees to attack and kill them. Generally, many of the cats do not eat the hummingbirds, but watching them flutter and the movement they make captures their attention, so they try to hunt them down.

Other birds are also your worst enemies. An example is found in the falcon, one of the birds with the best vision and an incredible speed. If a hummingbird has become the target of a member of this species, it has very little chance of escaping once it has been detected.

In some regions there is what is known as Blue Jay, a type of bird that is known to feed on small species of hummingbirds. Snakes can also be one of your greatest enemies, especially as they climb trees and mingle with the environment, sliding silently so that it cannot detect your presence. Their diet consists mainly of the eggs that hummingbirds leave in their nests, but they also attack birds.

The praying mantis is another natural predator of these small birds, mixing with the surroundings and taking advantage when a hummingbird lands near it to attack it. Because it is a bird with very calculated movements, it is capable of attacking at a majestic speed, and can take several days to fully feed on a hummingbird, which is why it is considered such a highly valued food.

Smaller species of hummingbirds are the perfect target for large spiders. They create cloth so that the hummingbird gets stuck, while others will attack them out of nowhere and inject their venom into them to immobilize them and devour them. It is true that a hummingbird can feed on bees and wasps, especially if they go to its feeding ground, but it is not uncommon for these insects to kill and feed on a hummingbird.

Humans are another of the main causes of the death of these birds. It is true that not many people kill these birds for pleasure, but they are responsible for the deforestation of the habitat of this species, as well as the destruction of its nests.

Where do hummingbirds usually live?

Hummingbirds often settle in wooded areas, usually near areas rich in floral fauna, and live hidden in stone cracks or inside tree trunks.

colibri bird

In some cases they tend to approach urbanized areas, where they interact with the floral fauna of the area, especially in gardens and public parks. These hummingbirds have adapted best to the deforestation of their homes.

What do you do if you have a hummingbird in your garden?

Just because you can’t have a hummingbird as a pet doesn’t mean you can’t have one as a housemate. Many people who have houses with gardens enjoy the company of these birds. Or, if they know they live nearby, they build them a food source.

Now, if you see that you have one near your home, what should you do?

  • Never try to hunt him down. Hummingbirds are very scary birds and don’t like being caught. It’s better to leave him alone.
  • You can build a drinking fountain with sugared water or with a little nectar. The bird will appreciate it.
  • Don’t be afraid to let it get near your plants. On the contrary, it is ideal for the hummingbird to move from one to the other because this benefits them.
  • Do not approach him from behind or try to surprise him, this could cause him to get scared and attack you.
  • If you see that he is injured, take him inside the house and leave him in a place where he will not be disturbed, with a small nest box. Feed him some nectar and sugar water until he’s recovered.
  • You can build him a little house, but it’s rare for hummingbirds to want to live in it. However, there have been many cases.
  • If you have cats and they often go out into the garden, keep an eye on them, because the hummingbird’s life could be in danger.
  • Take advantage of this opportunity for your children to get to know and observe this bird, as it will help them learn a lot about it.
Hummingbirds
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