Amazing that such tiny little birds can attract such a big crowd, but that is exactly what happened at the one day Hummingbird Festival we attended in Charlotte, NC on Saturday.
Over 3000 of us were fascinated to watch the petite Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds be prepared for their long migration to Central America. We watched as little bands were put around their right feet and a dot of white paint was applied to the top of their heads and wing tips.
The biologist explained that these markings would allow them to keep track of the birds when they return to the area next spring.
After a few photo-ops, she released the little guy into the wild.
I didn't stand a chance of getting a picture of that as they are so fast ~ 35 mph to be exact. We also learned that they have a wing speed of 60 beats per second and can fly sideways, backwards and even hover.
These little birds have to worry about a lot of different predators. Everything from bullfrogs sticking out their tongues and pulling them in to ...
outdoor cats to ...
(I won't enlarge this one :).
You get the idea, I'm sure.
The predator that surprised us the most ...
the praying mantis.
I had no idea that a praying mantis could eat a hummingbird, but we learned that they are often found sitting on hummingbird feeders waiting to attack.
The nest of a hummingbird is about the size of half of a walnut shell. The mother normally lays 2 eggs the size of a coffee bean. Sadly with so many predators only about 10% of the babies survive.
I have always been fascinated by hummingbirds and enjoy watching them visit the flowers and feeders in my yard. Visiting this festival gave me an even bigger appreciation for them. As a matter of fact, I'm off to clean and re-fill my feeders now.
Recipe for Hummingbird Nectar:
4 parts water
1 part sugar
~ bring the water to a boil. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Cool before filling the feeder.
The biologist at this festival advised NOT adding red dye to the food as it is harmful to the birds.
On this warm day in late summer, I am wishing all of the little hummingbirds safe travels until we meet again.