Ever have one of those learning moments just fall in your lap? That happened to me 3 weeks ago when Vernon Kleen, one of the few licensed hummingbird banders in the U.S., was on hand at our local nature center to demonstrate hummingbird banding.
He shared interesting facts about hummingbirds and even gave us the opportunity to feel the heartbeat of these tiny fliers. I’ll don’t think I’m over the thrill of feeling the heartbeat of this hummingbird yet!
The tiny heart of a hummingbird beats about 1200 times per minute. It’s incredibly fast!
The morning spent at our nature center made observing the hummingbirds in our yard even more interesting.
The hummingbirds in our yard are very active and actually will feed and fly around us while we are on the porch. It makes for great hummingbird watching.
You can attract hummingbirds to your yard too by giving them a source of food.
Hummingbirds love nectar producing flowers but red, orange and pink tend to be colors they love most. Flowers they love most include hibiscus, salvias, trumpet honeysuckles, penstemons and fushcias. Hummingbirds also eat large numbers of insects to get the protein, vitamins and other nutrients their bodies need.
The standard solution for hummingbird feeders is 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water. In the fall as the season cools you can increase the sugar to water ratio to as high as 1:1. You can also use this ratio in the spring before hummingbirds have a natural source of nectar producing flowers. It’s important that you NEVER use honey, red dye or artificial sweeteners in you solution. It can be harmful and even fatal to the hummingbirds. During the summer you’ll need to change the sugar water in your feeders every 2-3 days. We found it easy to fill the feeders just enough to last for 2 days. That way we weren’t spilling sticky sugar water everywhere when we changed the sugar water out every couple of days.
Some interesting things I learned about hummingbirds from our local nature center
- Hummingbirds can beat their wings up to 100 times per second!
- If humans needed to consume proportionally the same amount of food as hummingbirds, we would have to eat 250 or more quarter pound hamburgers every day!
- It’s okay to leave your hummingbird feeders up past September. In the past it was thought leaving them up might lure the birds to stay beyond their normal departure dates. However, it’s now known that feeders don’t delay migration. Leave them up for at least 2 weeks beyond the date that you see the last hummingbird for the season.
Take advantage of opportunities to learn from resources in your community. They provide great teachable moments and oftentimes send kids off on their own search for knowledge. Grabbing resources when my kids have a spark of interest is always my goal.
Related post: My Favorite Birding Apps
Leah is a wife, mom of 2 homeschool graduates and co-founder of CurrClick.com. She’s a popular speaker who encourages parents to walk with their kids through the world of social media and technology so we raise a generation of digitally responsible young adults. She shares tips on technology and social media at leahnieman.com.