IMAGES CULLMAN SUMMER HUMMINGBIRDS
We captured this rare image of a rubythroat hummingbird in-flight last week.
Following one of last week’s microburst thunderstorms, we had a charm of hummingbirds briefly descend upon our weather station near Wallace State Community College.
This image is one of those hummingbirds in mid-flight.
We have no hummingbird feeders. Apparently these guys enjoy the nectar from the shrubs and rose bushes nearby.
According to World of Hummingbirds:
• Hummingbirds are the tiniest birds in the world.
• Hummingbirds can flash their bright colors, as well as hide them when needed.
• The bright radiant color on hummingbirds comes from iridescent coloring like on a soap bubble or prism.
• A hummingbird’s brain is 4.2% of its body weight, the largest proportion in the bird kingdom.
• Hummingbirds are very smart and they can remember every flower they have been to, and how long it will take a flower to refill.
• Hummingbirds can hear better than humans
• Hummingbirds can see farther than humans.
• Hummingbirds can see ultraviolet light.
• Hummingbirds have little to no sense of smell.
According to Alabama Cooperative Extension Center, the rubythroat hummingbird is common to all parts of Alabama.
The male can be recognized by his deep red throat patch and dark green back. The female looks like the male except she has no red on her throat and has a lighter green back.
During their daily activity, hummingbirds burn a tremendous amount of calories and usually feed about four times an hour. They have tubular tongues that they extend deep inside flowers to reach nectar. Insects also make up a small portion of their diet.
Since a hummingbird cannot feed all night, it has to slow its body functions during the night. This state of suspended animation is called torpor. The hummingbird’s body temperature and heart rate (nor- mally about 200 beats per minute) drop and breathing slows to about 5 percent of what would be expected for a sleeping bird of hummingbird size.
Hummingbirds are easily attracted to feeders in the spring, usually beginning in April or early May. Many types of feeders are commercially available, and most work well. A feeder that has a bee guard works best because it keeps bees from using the feeder. If too many bees are attracted to the feeder, hummingbirds will not use it.
Feeders are filled with nectar solution that is either purchased or made at home. For the homemade solution, mix 1 part table sugar to 4 to 5 parts warm water. The warm water makes the sugar dissolve faster. Allow the solution to cool before filling the feeder. There is no evidence that hummingbirds need any nutrients other than pure, white table sugar.
Be sure to keep your feeders clean. Rinse the feeders with vinegar and hot water at least once a week, even if some solution is left. Avoid using detergents. Do not allow mold to grow on the feeder or let the feeding solution become cloudy. Discard old feeding solution and store extra fresh solution in the refrigerator.