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The Small (but mighty) Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly straight and fast but can stop instantly, hover, and adjust their position up, down, or backwards with impressive control. They often visit hummingbird feeders and tube-shaped flowers and defend these food sources against others. You may also see them plucking tiny insects from the air or from spider webs.

Here are a few fun facts about ruby-throated and other hummingbirds:

  • They are the smallest migrating bird. They don’t migrate in flocks like other species, and they typically travel alone for up to 500 miles at a time.

  • Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backwards.

  • The average weight of a hummingbird is less than a nickel.

Hummingbirds have no sense of smell, but have good color vision. Some birds like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird prefer orange or red flowers. Despite this, red dye should not be used in nectar as it could harm the birds. Instead, plant naturally red or orange flowers or use feeders that have red coloring in their structure.

Click here to read more fun facts and also learn how to attract ruby-throated hummingbirds to your backyard.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds just started to make their migratory appearance in the past week or so, a true sign of Spring here in Maine! I enjoy sitting on my back patio in the afternoon/early evening watching them feed on nectar in my perennial garden and from my hummingbird feeder. I sometimes hear them before I see them due to the sound their wings make from beating so fast. Don't blink though, you may miss them!

Enjoy this artwork? Ruby-throated prints are available in my online shop.

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