TNB Night Owl – Hummingbird Season

Blue-tailed Emerald hummingbird, photographed in Ecuador by Francesco Veronesi.

Now that spring is here, hummingbirds are migrating north for the summer. In the past week, the soft buzz of their wings has been heard several times around our place as they search for nectar and a good place to build a nest. The mimosa trees are in full bloom – their fragrant and unusual flowers are powerful attractants to the tiny birds. Unfortunately, this is the second consecutive spring without the usual abundance of wildflowers in our area. Normally, there are so many that anywhere we walk, there are bunches of flowers within an arm’s reach.

However, without a bumper crop of wildflowers this year, the hummingbirds may choose to move on in search of better provisions. (They also eat spiders and flying insects.) If they stay and build, we may find their nests in small trees after the autumn leaves have fallen. Each miniature nest we’ve found is so tiny, a golf ball would not easily fit inside the bowl. Of course, hummingbird species come in a number of sizes. Most fall in the range of 7.5 to 13 centimeters (3 to 5 inches) in length, but the smallest (bee hummingbird) is only 5 cm (2 inches) and the largest (giant hummingbird) is up to 23 cm (9 inches) long.

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Apodiformes
Family: Trochilidae (Vigors, 1825)

With approximately 360 species of hummingbirds in the Americas – their native range – the family Trochilidae are related to swifts and treeswifts, which are sister groups that hummingbirds split away from some 42 million years ago.

“This is Hummingbird Heaven | United States of Animals” (2:18)

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About Richard Doud 622 Articles
Learning is a life-long endeavor. Never stop learning. No one is right all the time. No one is wrong all the time. No exceptions to these rules.