Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris)

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Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) are widely distributed through North America, and are the most common hummingbirds in eastern North America. They embark on a most difficult migration of 18 to 20 hours non-stop across the Gulf. A truly beautiful bird, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are frequent garden visitors and quickly become accustomed to human presence.

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird averages a length of 3.5 inches or 8.9 cm with a mass of 3.1 g. Adult males have an emerald green back with a ruby-red iridescent throat. The flanks are gray and his tail is forked. The larger female Ruby-throated Hummingbird also has an emerald green back, but has a white breast and throat. Her tail is rounded and tipped with white. Juvenile offspring resemble the female, the males developing the red gorget over time. Interestingly, as with other hummingbirds, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s wings beat extremely fast averaging 52 beats per second. Everything about these birds is fast, respiration is at 250 per minute and the heart rate reaches 1 200 beats a minute when feeding. Under normal conditions they fly at a speed of 48 km/h. In a dive they reach 101 km/h. The fast beating of the little wings of the hummingbird make a distinctive humming sound whilst they emit rapid chipping calls. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird has very short legs and has to shuffle across the item it is perching on.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feed only on nectar and insects (moths, butterflies and bees), using their long bills to reach inside flowers. They are easily drawn to garden bird feeders specially designed for their feeding habits. Males will even become very territorial over their feeder and guard it aggressively. Following an almost non-existent courtship the female will lay 2 tiny eggs in the minute nest built of bud scales. The nest is intricately designed with spider silk attaching it to a tree branch and lichen on the outside as camouflage. The inside of the nest is carefully lined with thistle down, cattail or dandelion. Incubation by the female lasts for about 60 to 80 days. Normally young ones will stay in the nest for 18 to 23 days, though this can vary greatly according to circumstances. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are fascinating birds, a wonder to the eye, so why not purchase a nectar feeder and draw them to your garden.

2008 Hummer/Bird Celebration

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Every year hundreds of people gather together to celebrate the amazing migration of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This year will be no different and fans are getting ready to enjoy the 20th Anniversary Hummer/Bird Celebration which will take place from September 11-14.

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New Genetic Research Turns Bird Families Upside Down

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A recent study of bird genetics has researchers startled with surprising new findings. After completing the largest study of bird genetics ever undertaken, U.S. researchers are discovering that a number of birds are not as closely related to similar bird species as was previously thought.

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Bird Watching in Peru

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Bird watching in Peru is an unbeatable experience and one that will leave even the most seasoned bird watcher awestruck. Peru is the destination of choice for many international birders, and for good reason. Peru is home to 120 endemic species of birds, with no fewer than 42 new species being recorded in the past 30 years. Over 1,800 bird species have been recorded to date – including the endemic species – and researchers believe that the list will continue to grow as they explore new areas.

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Birding in Madera Canyon, Arizona

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The beautiful Madera Canyon, located in the Santa Rita Mountain Range in southern Arizona, is considered by many to be a bird-watcher’s paradise. The terrain on the approach to Madera Canyon is grasslands, which gives way to mountain forest. The area is renowned for its abundance of bird species and the relatively easy access to watch and photograph birds that are generally not seen elsewhere.

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The Important Role of Birds in Pollination

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Pollination, whereby pollen grains (male) are transferred to the ovule (female) of a plant, is an irreplaceable step in the reproduction of seed plants. Most plant fruits are unable to develop without pollination taking place and many beautiful flower varieties would die out if not pollinated. Bees and insects are the most common pollinators, but bats and birds are known to do their share in this vital activity. The agent moving the pollen, whether it is moths, bees, bats, wind or birds, is called the “pollinator” and the plant providing the pollen is called the “pollenizer”.

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How Do Hummingbirds Hover?

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Hummingbirds are a bird species well known for their amazing aerobatic skills. You may see a hummingbird hovering at a flower having a drink of nectar. Its wings are a misty blur either side of it. In an instant, it might dart forward, sideways, backwards or even upside down, wings beating furiously at 50 to 80, or even more, beats per second. The number of beats per second varies according to the size and species of the bird. It has been reported that a hummingbird can travel at speeds of 30 to 60 miles per hour (50 to 100 km/h) and then abruptly stop and hover in one position. How do they accomplish these amazing aerobatic feats?

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Sleepy Hummingbirds

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Hummingbirds have incredibly busy days. Their heart is beating 1000 times a minute. This gets even mo repaid after the hummingbird starts flapping its wings 10-80 beats a second! In addition to buys days, hummingbirds need to keep their body temperature as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit (or 40 degrees Celsius).

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Arizona Snowbirds

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Winter weather’s closing in on many North American towns. Most migrant birds have finished their move south, escaping the cold. Why not follow them? A winter trip to SE Arizona is a great cure for a bird-watcher‘s winter blues.

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Costa Rica: A perfect bird-watching holiday

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Many bird-watchers see their first tropical birds in Costa Rica. More than 850 species of birds inhabit Costa Rica’s rainforests, mountains, and tropical islands.

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