Bird Watching Sightings – The Hummingbird

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Bird watching is one of the fastest growing popular hobbies. One of the reasons is it so easy to do since you can sit in your backyard and watch birds such as the hummingbird.

When you think of people going bird watching, one tends to get visions of a person standing out in a canyon somewhere. They have a vest, binoculars, writing journal, and so on. While this is certainly a possibility, you don’t have to venture far to become an avid bird watcher. In fact, there is an entire segment of this hobby known as backyard bird watching. You simply sit in the backyard, relax and start paying attention. One of the birds you may well see is the hummingbird.

Hummingbirds are part of the bird family Trochilidae. Obviously, they get their name from their unique habit of hovering in place. The hovering action creates a distinct humming noise in the air and gives rise to their title. What do you know? A name that makes total and obvious sense!

To the surprise of many, hummingbirds are only found in the Americas. There are some 338 species found from North America to South America. 16 are found in North America with most maintaining habitats more towards the tropical areas of the equatorial line. There are no hummingbirds in Asia, Africa or Europe, where their niche in the ecosystem is filled by other birds.

If you watch a hummingbird, you will note it flaps its wings at an insanely quick pace. This is a bit of a misnomer. The hummingbird actually has very short wings that act more as hands from a structural standpoint. They bones are aligned such that the “wings” can be flapped at a pace not seen in other bird species. It is the equivalent of wagging your finger up and down versus kicking your leg back and forth. You can move your finger much, much quicker.

Given the pace of their action, hummingbirds burn energy quickly and are in constant need of fuel. The average human needs a few thousand calories to get through the day. A hummingbird needs over 150,000! To fuel their fire, hummingbirds look for sugar fuel sources such as those found in the pollen of flowers and fruits.

To view hummingbirds, your best shot is during warmer months of the year. If you have flowering plants in your backyard, they should drop by every once in a while. If you do not, add some flower landscaping and you should see them soon. If you are hummingbird crazy, the best place to see them is in southern Arizona where the largest populations can be found.