Last week we were invited to a friend’s house to enjoy the view from their balcony and watch the hummingbirds. What a treat to see clouds racing across the sky and thinking this is the top of the world.
Started wondering about these tiny birds with a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, measure about 3 inches in length, and have a heartbeat of 200 times a minute. I see them around our house getting nectar from colorful flowers using their long narrow bills and tongue. Their tongues are groved like the shape of a “W” with tiny hairs that help lap up nectar—-similar to a cat’s tongue.
There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds and are found only in the Western Hemisphere from Alaska to Chile. Most live in the tropics. And yes, they migrate alone, not in a flock. Have no sense of smell, but can hear better than humans.
Now that name hummingbird comes from flapping their wings so fast (720 to 5400 times per minute when hovering) that they make a humming noise.The average flying speed is 30 miles an hour but they can travel as fast as 60 miles an hour. They almost never stop moving. Legs are so small and weak they typically can’t walk at all and use their feet for perching.
Hummers are the only birds that can fly up, down, sideways, backwards and forward like a helicopter. They can even fly upside down.
And Now I Know.....a bit more about the birds of Chiriqui.
Below are two stock photos of hummingbirds. We find them difficult to photograph.