My friend Susan bought me a hummingbird feeder for my kitchen dinette window and today I saw my first hummingbird come to check it out. What a thrill! I don't know what my husband and I were talking about, but whatever it was, in that moment I forgot it and jumped for joy. I was so excited to see that little bird at my window. Now they know they can come and visit anytime.
Did you know that hummingbirds are the smallest bird. They can flap their wings 30-90 times per second. Can you imagine their metabolism? It is the highest metabolism of all animals. Their pulse rate (heart beat) averages 1200 beats/minute. I am a nurse and I would have to be a wonder nurse to count that pulse. The neat thing is that they are able to lower their heart rate to 50-180 beats per minute at night, at rest, or when they don't have enough food. Compared to humans-the average heart rate is around 70. A good resting heart rate is 50 (very healthy heart of a conditioned individual) and 180 would be the maximum heart rate for a 40 year old.
They eat nectar from flowers or sugar water from feeders. They can visit more than 100 flowers a day. Their diet is sugar, water and salt.
I used to work in the dialysis unit at Christ Hospital. This is where people with kidney failure would come for an "artificial kidney" treatment. It was interesting to me that hummingbirds can actually slow their kidney filtration rate when they are near dehydration so that when there is a lack of water for the kidneys they do not go into failure. Wow! what an animal!
They are also the only group of birds that can fly backwards and their flying patterns have been studied by aerodynamic experts.
My father, John Mack, was an artist, and one of his paintings hangs in my foyer. It is a hummingbird. Thank you Dad.
For more information on Hummingbirds, there is a great website hummingbirds.net.
I hope you enjoy some hummingbirds this summer.