Those Precious Hummingbirds

Those precious individuals completed a dangerous non-stop flight over the Gulf of Mexico to get to our address, and we are delighted that the hummingbirds have returned to Georgia and Baldwin County.  Thanks to son Arlin, I now display one of the most handsome hummer feeders imaginable; it is a pleasure scrutinizing the garnet colored vessel suspended outside my kitchen window. 

There are numerous interesting facts and figures about hummingbirds on the information-highway, the internet, so I decided to share some of those particulars.  The petite beings cannot walk; but contrary to popular opinion, they do possess feet, however those miniature appendages are feeble, and used mainly for perching while they feed. 

Hummers are thought to have the highest metabolism of any animal, and a high breathing and heart rate to match their elevated body temperature.  Although the heart rate of hummers can increase to over five hundred beats a minute, they have the ability to lower it to less than fifty beat per minute when necessary.  This hibernation-like state of existence is known as torpor and it enables them to conserve energy due to cool temperatures or the lack of a food source. 

Curiously, while in the state of torpor they can lower their body temperature from twenty to fifty degrees, and are considered continuously on the verge of starvation even though they frequently intake more than fourteen times their body weight in nectar every day.  

If you need one more reason to adore these curious beings, they ingest small insects such as gnats; they seize them in flight with their lengthy and nearly invisible tongue. 

Nectar can be purchased, but if you prefer to mix your own, the standard formula for their preferred food is one part white table sugar to four parts boiling water; mix well and let it cool to room temperature before dispensing.  Never use honey or artificial sweetener, and red dye is not necessary; once they locate a container, they will return year after year. 

Our feisty visitors spend the long days of summer clashing, bothering and dive-bombing each other while hastily refueling for their next flight.   So, as Woody and Emeril and associates fret and worry each other, summertime moves forward in the northern part of Baldwin County, Georgia. 


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