Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Trails to the Hummers

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.


  1. I love them too...I fill my feeder everyday and have a bunch of them. One day as I hung it, I stayed on the step stool and held very still...they cam swarming about my face and fluffing my hair, it ws so fun! ;D

  2. yeah i love them little birdies! But i didn't know that i had to boil the water before i put it in the feeder! I'll do that next time!

    Thanks have a great Sunday!

  3. We've sure enjoyed out little hummers this summer. We only have one feeder out on our balcony but we've seen as many as 5 at one time! What a neat post and great photos...all except that one! heehee! ♥

  4. You had me reading hummingbird facts out loud to my husband! My hummingbird 'feeder' is a two-story tall trumpet vine. Just love these guys. I went to a bird-banding workshop once and thought it was great; seeing one with hummingbirds would really be fun! Thanks for taking us along.

  5. VERY COOL!!!
    I learned a few things! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I'm going to miss the hummers so much when they leave! Every morning I sit on the back porch and watch them flit from flower to flower, and when they fly away, alot of times it's very close to my head and I'm always afraid that they're going to impale their little beaks in my head!

  7. Kim, I live in Charlotte and I never heard about the Hummingbird Day. It looks like it was fun! I love those little hummers!

  8. I think we all love hummingbirds!! That is really surprising about the praying mantis eating them. Have had both on my deck last week.

  9. I love hummers too.....another of God's wonderful and mysterious creations

    Geez....I've never thought of them having so many predators....they're so fast.... I thought they were safe.

    Love all your neat pictures and information!!!

  10. I learned alot of info here, about the little guys that visit my house often. My mother will want to know this recipe. Thank you! Your pictures are so interesting. She likes watching them from her comfy chair on the porch.

    Oh yes, thanks for not enlarging the snake picture:)

  11. I love the little Hummers and love to watch them flitting around my flowers outside my kitchen window. I didn't realize they had so many predators after them. Thanks for the info!

  12. Kim, this is such a great post, hummingbirds are one of my favorites, I found out some new information today, especially about the praying mantis, as i have a lot of them around, and like them too, but a little less today. lol

    Our hummers bring us much joy, especially while watching them at my kitchen sink, as always such a joy to visit.

  13. I love watching them at the feeder and the flowers that they visit.
    You gave me info that I didn't know. Thanks!
    Have you ever seen a hummingbird moth? We have had them here.
    Look it up, it's quite interesting.

  14. Oh my gosh,
    This is so funny because I went all around today looking for Hummingbird pictures because I am going to do a post about them soon. The Hummingbird is my most beloved bird, and I love them for so many reasons. They are amazing and beautiful. I'm so glad I found someone who cherishes them as much as I do. Thank you for following Red Rose Alley, and I will be sure to visit you again. Be sure to keep a look out for my Hummingbird post which will probably be in a week or so. Have a lovely evening.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  15. Oh, I forgot to mention...your photos of the precious Hummingbird are wonderful!
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  16. I love hummingbirds but did not know all the information you gave. For some reason we have not had many this year!

  17. I saw one or two this summer. They are SO lovely. Your post is fun and interesting.

  18. I love the hummingbirds too, Kim. In fact I just now filled my hummingbird feeder. Interesting facts you mentioned...I never imagined a praying mantis could eat a hummingbird.

    I hate to say farewell to the little guys. I will miss them.


  19. What an interesting event. I'm glad that there are people who are doing what they can to study and help these beautiful creatures.
    Thank you for your comment about my photos. I use Picnik to add the frames/borders. It's really easy to do.

  20. Thanks for not enlarging that dreadful snake.

    It is neat how you could hold the hummingbirds in your hand.


  21. I love those little guys too. Those praying mantis better start praying every time they see me, because I'm saving the cute little hummingbirds. Thank you for sharing!

    Have a wonderful day!

  22. That was fascinating! What a lot of predators indeed.

    Last night I asked John what that green thing was sitting on the edge of a chair. It turned out to be a little tiny praying mantis. So odd. We hardly ever see them here.


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