Lincoln County Bird Club
        Ruidoso, NM


Hummingbird


There are more than 325 hummingbird species in the world. Only 8 species regularly breed in the United States, though up to two dozen species may visit the country.


 A hummingbird’s brilliant throat color is not caused by feather pigmentation, but rather by iridescence in the arrangement of the feathers and the influence of light level, moisture and other factors.


 Hummingbirds cannot walk or hop, though their feet can be used to scoot sideways while they are perched. The calliope hummingbird is the smallest bird species in North America and measures just 3 inches long. The bee hummingbird is the smallest species and measures 2.25 inches long.
Hummingbirds have 1,000-1,500 feathers, the fewest number of feathers of any bird species in the world.


 The average ruby-throated hummingbird weighs 3 grams. In comparison, a nickel weighs 4.5 grams. From 25-30 percent of a hummingbird’s weight is in its pectoral muscles, the muscles principally responsible for flight. A hummingbird’s maximum forward flight speed is 30 miles per hour, though the birds can reach up to 60 miles per hour in a dive.


 Hummingbirds lay the smallest eggs of all birds. They measure less than 1/2 inch long but may represent as much as 10 percent of the mother’s weight at the time the eggs are laid.


 A hummingbird must consume approximately 1/2 of its weight in sugar daily, and the average hummingbird feeds 5-8 times per hour.


 A hummingbird’s wings beat between 50 and 200 flaps per second depending on the direction of flight and air conditions.


 An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute.
At rest, a hummingbird takes an average of 250 breaths per minute.


 The rufous hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird species with a distance of more than 3,000 miles from the bird’s nesting grounds in Alaska and Canada to its winter habitat in Mexico.


 The ruby-throated hummingbird flies 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico during both its spring and fall migrations.


 Depending on the species, habitat conditions, predators and other factors, the average lifespan of a wild hummingbird is 3-12 years.


 Hummingbirds have no sense of smell but have very keen eyesight.
Hummingbirds do not suck nectar through their long bills, they lick it with fringed, forked tongues. A hummingbird can lick 10-15 times per second while feeding. Hummingbirds digest natural sucrose in 20 minutes with 97 percent efficiency for converting the sugar into energy.


 Many hummingbird species, including Anna’s, black-chinned, Allen’s, Costa’s, rufous, calliope and broad-tailed hummingbirds, can breed together to create hybrid species, one fact that makes identifying hummingbirds very challenging.
The peak fall migration period for hummingbirds is from mid-July through August or early September, depending on the route.


 Despite their small size, hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive bird species and will regularly attack jays, crows and hawks that infringe on their territory.


 The bill of the aptly named sword-billed hummingbird, found in the Andes Mountains, can reach up to 4 inches long.


 Hummingbirds are native species of the New World and are not found outside of the Western Hemisphere.

(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)


Special Sighting: "Leucistic" (Albino) Hummingbirds

"Leucistic" Hummingbirds, Albino hummingbirds are extremely rare -- less than a hundred sightings have been reported in the Americas; most of which involves "partial albinos" or "leucistic" hummingbirds and only a small percentage of the sightings involved "true albinos."Leucistic / Partial Albino Hummingbirds: The more common form of albinism. Local areas of the hummingbird's body, such as certain feathers, are lacking the pigment melanin. The color of the plumage may range from pure white, buffy, tan or greyish. Like normal-colored hummingbirds, leucistic forms have black eyes, legs and bills.
(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)



House Finch


The House Finch was originally a bird of the western United States and Mexico. In 1940 a small number of finches were turned loose on Long Island, New York, after failed attempts to sell them as cage birds (“Hollywood finches”). They quickly started breeding and spread across almost all of the eastern United States and southern Canada within the next 50 years.
The total House Finch population across North America is staggering. Scientists estimate between 267 million and 1.4 billion individuals.

(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)



Juniper Titmouse

The Juniper Titmouse is a small, gray bird with small tuft or crest. The face is plain, and the undersides are a lighter gray. Sexes are similar.
Juniper Titmice will sleep in cavities, dense foliage, or birdhouses. When roosting in foliage, the titmouse chooses a twig surrounded by dense foliage or an accumulation of dead pine needles, simulating a roost in a cavity. It forms pairs or small groups, but does not form large flocks. It may join mixed-species flocks after breeding season for foraging.

(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)


Mountain Chickadee


The Mountain Chickadee, little bitty bird that never stops moving.
Energetic models suggest that a half-ounce chickadee needs to eat about 10 calories per day to survive. That’s equivalent to about one-twentieth of an ounce of peanut butter.
Chickadees will busily store food for later when they find a ready supply, such as your bird feeder. If you offer them sunflower seeds they’ll usually shell the seed first by holding it between their feet and hammering it apart with their beak. Then they'll fly off to stash it.

(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)


Pygmy Nuthatch


Pygmy Nuthatch is one of only two nuthatch species in the world known to have helpers at the nest. Offspring from previous years help their parents raise young.
Unique among songbirds, the Pygmy Nuthatch uses three energy-saving mechanisms on cold nights: it uses a protected roost site (hole in a tree), huddles with other nuthatches, and lets its body temperature drop (hypothermia).
No records exist of Pygmy Nuthatches roosting alone. They always huddle in a group, sometimes with more than 100 in a single cavity.
(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)


Great Blue Herons


Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray. The herons comb this “powder down” with a fringed claw on their middle toes, using the down like a washcloth to remove fish slime and other oils from their
feathers as they preen. Applying the powder to their underparts protects their
feathers against the slime and oils of swamps.

(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)


Rio Grande Wild Turkey


The Rio Grande Wild Turkey ranges through Texas to Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, and was introduced to central and western California, as well as parts of a few northeastern states. It was also introduced to Hawai?i in the late 1950s. Population estimates for this subspecies range from 1,022,700 to 1,025,700.[citation needed] This subspecies, native to the central plain states., was first described in 1879, and has relatively long legs, better adapted to a prairie habitat. its body feathers often have a green-coppery sheen. The tips of the tail and lower back feathers are a buff-to-very light tan color. Its habitats are brush areas next to streams, rivers or mesquite, pine and scrub oak forests. The Rio Grande Turkey is gregarious.
(Information courtesy of David L. Tremblay of Alto, NM)



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