It’s that time of year that in many parts of the country hummingbirds are returning.
How Many kinds of Hummingbirds are there?
More than 330 different species have been identified. Most live in Central and South America. A small number of hummingbird species live in the United States for all or part of each year. There are about 12 to 15 species that routinely nest in the U.S. A few other species visit.
What is the Most Common Type of Hummingbird?
According to Birds and Blooms the most common species is the Ruby-Throated hummingbird. This type of hummingbird is found mostly in the eastern part of the US and into Canada. In the Western United States, one will often find Anna’s, Black-Chinned, Calliope, Broad-Tailed, Allen’s, White-eared, and Rufous hummingbirds.
Male ruby-throated hummingbirds have green bodies and ruby red throats that actually glisten in the sunlight. Females aren’t as colorful in appearance. They sport a green head with white underparts and black masks near their eyes. Both sexes have a metallic greenback. They measure about 3 3/4 inches long with a wingspan of 4 1/2 inches.
All juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds look so similar to females that it’s often nearly impossible to tell the difference. About 15 days after hatching, baby hummingbirds stand up on the edge of the nest, then leave the nest a few days later. The female continues to feed them for up to a week as they learn how to find food.
Whether a male, female, or juvenile chooses your yard, they are fun to watch. Many are territorial so they will stay close by the feeders they are used to eating from!
Several hummingbird species are found over the western half of North America, but only one, the ruby-throat, flies the eastern skies regularly. Look for them in gardens, woodland edges, and parks.
From mid-spring through late summer, the female ruby-throat is constantly on the move. She chooses a nest site, builds a nest, incubates eggs, and raises the young birds all on her own.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Nest
These tiny fliers build a cup-shaped nest with moss, spiderwebs, and camouflaged with lichen. The female lays two tiny white eggs that look like jelly beans.
How fast do hummingbirds fly?
Hummingbird wing speed varies depending on the species. The smaller the hummingbird, the faster it flaps its wings. Ruby-throated hummingbird wings beat about 50 times a second.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Migration
Rufous hummingbirds migrate farther than any other North American species. They travel 4,000 miles from Mexico to Alaska every spring. Most ruby-throats spend the cold months between southern Mexico and northern Panama. Ruby-throated hummingbirds move south in late summer and early fall. Some ruby-throats fly more than 3,000 miles from Canada to Costa Rica. That’s quite a feat for a bird that weighs a little less than 4 grams. They need food sources to fuel their migration. A good rule of thumb is to leave your feeders up for a couple of weeks after you see the last one pass by. Looking for some great feeders?
Here’s a link
So as you can see with the spring weather arriving hummingbirds are not far behind! By clicking on the above blue highlighted links you can read in more detail about everything from migration to what hummingbird nests look like. I discovered a great link if you want to learn more about the migration of hummingbirds in your area. The following link is an interactive map that you can use to track hummingbirds in your area! “Hummingbird Central” link
There are some great books that you can read to learn more about this amazing bird!! Here’s just one!