These little creatures have always fascinated me. They are tiny, but strong and relentless. They are the tiniest birds in the world, but, can overcome more adversities in their short lives, than I ever could. I have learned so much from these little guys and thought I would share some fun facts about them.
There are over 325 species of hummingbirds in the world. Here in the United States we have more than two dozen spread across the country. There are just a few species here in the Pacific Northwest. The ones that frequent my feeder here in Oregon, are called, Annas. I was expecting them to migrate south for the winter, however, these little guys choose to hang around all year round. I guess I’ve made them quite comfortable. Here is a pic of one of them about to feast on sugar-water that I made for him.
Hummingbirds have teeny tiny feet and they do not like to walk. They spend most of their lives perched on a tree branch, or hovering by a flower or feeder. I make my own nectar for them and so far, I have been successful at attracting them. I was informed that often the store-bought nectar will have a red dye that can harm them, so I make a simple solution of 1 cup of sugar dissolved in 4 cups of hot water. I wish refined sugar was as good for me as it is for them. Alas, not the case.
They have excellent memories and can remember where their food source is. A hummingbirds’ metabolism is 100 times that of an elephant. Well, hello……they do lap up a lot of sugar. Their weight is between 2 and 20 grams. The weight of a penny is 2.5 grams, to give you an idea. But, what is interesting is the fact that 30% of their weigh consists of flight muscles. I need to take up flying.
The hummingbird’s wings will beat 70 times per second and up to 200 times when diving. They can fly 25-30 miles an hour and when migrating south can travel 500-3000 miles. Contrary to what some believe, they do not hitch a ride on the backs of any other bird to travel these long distances. They can do it all on their own power. Amazing! I mean, if a big old goose gave me the okay to hop on it’s back to Mexico, I would do it. But, that’s why I’m not a hummingbird.
Out of the many known facts of these awesome creatures, the one that fascinates me the most is how they sleep at night. They go into a state of hibernation called Torpor. Their little hearts drop from 200 beats to just 50. They do this to conserve their energy. I guess this is similar to what a bear does in winter, only it is not fair to compare a tiny 2 grams of hummingbird to a 500 lb. bear. When in this state of hibernation, they will often look like they are dead. (I often had to check to see if my teenager was still breathing when he seemed to be in a state of hibernation)Sorry, bad example.
There are many, many facts surrounding these birds. They bring a smile to my face every single day. I hear them wake from their stupor, chirping and immediately start feeding, flying, hovering and perching, beginning their daily cycle. Now, that, I must say, is where we are similar.( I too rise in a stupor, except I hover near the refrigerator looking for food and….well, pretty much do that several times through-out the day). I asked my daughter in Hawaii to give the birds that frequent my feeder a name. She came up with, Manu O Ka Oli Oli…..which is Hawaiian for Bird of Joy. They do bring me joy and they also remind me of a promise in scripture:
Matthew 6:25-27 – That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life, whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store foods in barns, for your Heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
As I observe the tiny yet powerful hummingbird, being cared for and watched over by a loving God, I cling to the promise that God also cares and watches over me and you. Have a blessed day everyone. Please leave your comments below.