Thursday, June 1, 2017


'For My Love of the Hummingbird'
In this post we will cover the many aspects of the daily diet of the hummingbird. First I will cover their appetite. You might think these tiny birds (the smallest warm blooded birds in the Animal Kingdom) would have the smallest appetites... Well, actually its the opposite.
Hummingbirds have enormous appetites. The reasons for their enormous appetites is the frequent visits they make to rich nectar flower that will provide the fuel these tiny hummingbirds require to maintain their high body temperature. Also to give them the energy they need for their powerful flights with their tiny muscles to function efficient in flight and rest. During a normal day for the hummingbird, they will visit between 1000 and 2000 flowers a day.
As for the flowers that these hummingbirds visit everyday. Some flowers release nectar  gradually as other flowers will release lots at a time. As for the gradually releasing nectar in some flowers, these type will receive many more visits from the hummingbirds while other flowers were only visited once a day. It could be that some nectar producing flowers were able to control the amount of nectar and even make it available only at dusk when the hummingbirds are anxious to feed before going to bed.
This happens with the flowers that release special nectar only at dawn when hummingbirds are very
hungry after a long cold night of sleep. The reasons for the High-rich diet in nectar is so essential for these tiny beauty birds is to maintain their body temperatures. Why you might ask? For example humans temperature for normal is 98.4F degrees
However, the hummingbirds temp is much different at normal ... Its 102'F and a few degrees higher at different times of the year.
The reasons for this is, that these hummingbirds need to keep their body temp's  at least at 102 F degrees (38.5c)to keep alive.
This also provides their muscular activity with the heat which is needed during the many periods of rapid flight. It will also keep them warm during those long flights when they head home for the winter.

There is always a huge problem in maintaining their 102 temp during the night when these tiny hummingbirds are perching hidden in the trees.
Most hummingbirds are known to feed just before dusk so their bodies will have sufficient reserves to keep them going through the night. They are also seen to engage in frenzied bouts of feeding early in the morning to restore his/she fuel used up during the night to keep their bodies warm.
In order for hummingbirds to survive the long cold nights, they will enter a state of torpidity- this means their bodies temp will drop within a few degrees of what surrounds them.
Their rate of respiration and heart beat also will drop. They will remain in this state until morning .
Many will find a safe place to do this so they don't become prey. Like my Rosy at night sleeps deep in the thick pine trees. This is why it's very important if you happen to have an hummingbird from the South like Peru or Mexico that has decided  to make your backyard or porch his/her their permitted home.
You have to think about your tiny new friend during the winter conditions which they are not used too.
They need lot!!! of homemade nectar. So you must have a hummingbird feeder from at least late Oct- to April when the first froze has left and the nectar flowers have stared to bloom. Personally I keep on out 365 days a year just in case. And now for Rosy who lives on my porch year around I need to for his survival. You also need to make sure that they have lots of safe places for roosting, nesting and sleeping in the weather conditions.
Sleep- Lastly I am going to cover sleep-

When a hummingbird finally settle down for the night They will find a safe perch to prepare for the night lower their body temp. to a few degrees of the air temp around them. Most of these hummingbirds at this point will ruffle up their feathers to expose their skin to let the cool air to speed the dissipation of the heart. As the hummingbird descends into torpor it will settle on its perch into a
characteristic sleep posture. The head tilts backwards and the bill is pointed toward the sky. Once in the torpid state the tiny hummingbird will not respond to anything stimuli like sudden noises or movements near its perch. It is only the rise in temp and increase in light of dawn that will raise it from the torpid state back to its normal rate of activity. When it does it will flee and feed.
The word narcotization has been used to describe as overnight torpidity in winter hibernation to save energy.

I have been lucky to see this once back in 2010 when we had our last big snow or any snow for that
matter. Rosy would stay on my porch where the food was always full and I had put a homemade heater there. I remember seeing him sitting so still and his feathers all ruffle out he didn't move all night .. I was very worried . I checked on him all night but when the sun started to rise he was starting to move a bit and then he was just fine... I hope you enjoyed my hummingbird stories..Wendi💗

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...