Pleasant Hill, California
We can show you how to turn your yard into a birdfeeding habitat that brings song, color and life to your home.

Rufous HummingbirdFun Facts About Hummingbirds

- There are 18 hummingbird species in North America. Hummingbirds are found no where else in the world except the New World (North, Central, and South America.)
- The oldest known wild hummingbird on recorded was a Broad-tailed Hummingbird that was over 12 years old.
- There are over 325 species of hummingbirds, making them the second largest bird family in the world, second only to flycatchers.
- Hummingbirds weigh 1/10th of an ounce; about the weight of a penny.
- Hummingbirds’ brains are about the size of a BB.
- Hummingbirds’ hearts are larger proportionally to their body than any other bird or mammal.
- Hummingbirds have such underdeveloped legs that they are unable to walk well.
- A mother hummingbird weighs only about eight times more than her egg.
- Hummingbirds lay the world’s smallest bird egg.
- Hummingbirds generally lay two eggs, each about the size of a blueberry.

- Rufous Hummingbirds (pictured above) migrate up to 2500 miles each way every Spring and Fall, Wintering in the Southwester US, Mexico, and as far south as Panama, then flying north to Alaska in mid Spring.  One of their flyways brings many of them through the Bay Area in early Spring and late Summer.
- Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have one of the highest nesting success rates of any neotropical migrant.
- Ruby-throated Hummingbirds will have two broods, each taking 45 days from nest construction to fledging.  They almost always lay two eggs, which are the size of coffee beans.
- Hummingbirds use spider webs as glue to attach the nest to a tree branch as well as a binding agent for the building materials.
- The nest is about the size of a golf ball; around 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- Only about 20% of Ruby-throated Hummingbird fledglings survive their first year.
- Hummingbirds eat about every ten minutes.
- Hummingbirds learn to associate flower colors, like red, with food. They do not have an innate preference for red.
- Hummingbirds can be very protective with feeding areas. One Anna’s Hummingbird was seen killing another using its bill as a spear when a freeze killed a significant portion of flowers in the area. You can offer birds a helping hand in harsh weather times by providing extra feeders.
- Hummingbirds can drink up to twice their body weight in nectar every day (most birds only eat ¼ - ½ their body weight).
- They drink nectar from plants and sugar water from feeders, and can do this while in flight.
- Hummingbirds lap up nectar with their long tongues. There are flaps on either side of the tongue that create a capillary action to help hold the nectar on the tongue and into the mouth during the lapping action.
- Hummingbirds can extend their tongue approximately a distance equal to the length of their bill.
- While lapping up nectar, Hummingbirds can move their tongues in and out of their bill at a rate of up to 12 times a second.
- Female Hummingbirds’ tongues are longer than the males.
- They eat insects and insect eggs on the ground and in trees. They love spiders and spider eggs. They use their bill and not their tongue to catch insects.
- One research study recorded an Anna’s Hummingbird visiting over a 1,000 flower blossoms a day.
- Hummingbirds can fly up to 60 miles per hour, but typically fly at 30-45 miles per hour.
- They can hover and are the only birds able to fly backwards and upside down. They can do this because of an extremely mobile shoulder joint.

- They almost never walk, but prefer to take flight, even to move a few inches.
- Their wings beat 20-80 times per second.
- The flight muscles of a hummingbird are 25-30% of their body weight compared to other birds at 15-25%.
- Hummingbirds will bathe in shallow water sources like natural pools or dishes, and enjoy “showering” in sprinklers and misters.
- To keep their feathers in top shape, hummingbirds will leaf-bathe by fluttering against wet leaves.
- During the night, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can enter into a state of torpor to save energy. Similar to a type of short-term hibernation, torpor reduces their metabolic activity and drops their heart rate from 1,200 beats per minute to 50 beats per minute.
- Hummingbirds body temperatures are generally 105°-109°F (40.5°-42.7°C)
- Hummingbirds can be very feisty and aggressive when defending their territories and will even chase away much larger birds.
- The iridescence in the hummingbird’s feathers has led them to be called the “jewels of the garden.”
- The male hummingbird’s gorget (throat patch) is iridescent and reflects certain color wavelengths. Some of these unique throat colors can be used to identify specific male species. Anna’s Hummingbird flashes neon pink; Costa’s is violet; Magnificent is green; Ruby-throated is ruby-red; and the Blue-throated is vivid blue.
- Hummingbirds have been known to fall prey to Bull Frogs, Praying Mantis and large spiders.