Albino Hummingbirds : Fact or Myth?

Albino hummingbirds are rare buy they do exist. Albino hummingbirds are not a separate species of hummingbird. The albinism is of a hummingbird caused by a genetic change that prevents the formation of dark-colored pigment in feathers. This is a very rare occurrence. There are varying degrees of albinism.   
Generally speaking, hummingbirds usually live to be between three and five years old. One of the oldest known hummingbirds on record lived to be over twelve years old, as was known as the result of banding studies and the fact that this bird had been banded twice. Typically, albino hummingbirds don’t live long. This is because they often have poor eyesight and more brittle feathers then other hummingbirds and this causes them to have a reduced flying ability.
Because albino hummingbirds are so rare, it isn’t very likely that most of us will have the privilege or opportunity to see one in our lifetime. But then again, maybe a few of us will be fortunate enough to enjoy the privilege of viewing one or maybe you yourself have already seen one before. If so, please let us know about it or just send us any comments you may have on the subject of albino hummingbirds.
Hummingbird Food

The Scarlet Runner Bean

The Scarlet Runner Bean is a unique plant and vegetable which you can use to attract hummingbirds. Yes, it is considered to be both a plant and a vegetable! The purpose of this post is to help you discover the Scarlet Runner Bean for yourself. It is my hope that it will become another resource to help you attract more hummingbirds to your yard and garden.
The Scarlet Runner Bean originated in Central America. It was first grown in sixteenth-century Europe as an ornamental vine. The Scarlet Runner Bean was introduced in the United Sates in the early 1800’s. It was not until later in that century that the Scarlet Runner Bean began being used for culinary purposes. Many people today consider this bean a gourmet vegetable. 
This unique veining plant and vegetable has many uses. It can be used as a way to add both color and fun to your garden. The bean is also eatable. The bean is said to have a crispy taste and to be quite delicious. The bean can be used in many culinary dishes, including stir-fry and salads.
This vine is supposed to be easy to grow. If you wish to grow it, you would plant it like any other bean, about 1/2 inch deep in the soil. It is also suggested that you plant about three beans in a small mound and that you make sure to have a trellis or some other type of support for the vine to grow up. If you are also growing sunflowers, then you can plant the seeds near the base of taller varieties of sunflowers and let them vine up the sunflower plants.
The flowers of this plant are scarlet in color and are very delicate looking and glow when the sun hits them. The foliage of this vine is a lush green color. Keeping the beans picked with help ensure that the vines will flower continuously all season.
If you are looking for something that is quite unique and different to plant in your garden which will help attract the hummingbirds to your yard, please consider the Scarlet Runner Bean. If you are interested in furter information on this unique plant and vegetable, please consult your local plant nursery or horticultural society for further information on the subject.

How to Hand Feed a Hummingbird

Have you seen the photos on the Internet that show Abigail Alfano from Covington, Louisiana hand feeding a hummingbird? If not, I would be surprised, because those photos seem to have gone viral and been all over the Internet. If you are like me, you have probably wondered just how Abigail was able to get the hummingbirds to feed from her hand. Well, thanks to Birds and Blooms Magazine, it is now known how she was able to accomplish this amazing task. The five steps that follow were told to the magazine by Abigail Alfano, but I have put them in my own words. 
  1. The hummingbirds must become used to your yard and the best way to achieve this is to offer them multiple sugar-water feeders.
  2. As the number of hummingbirds visiting your feeders increases, you must start spending time outside in order to get the birds used to your presence. This will take some time and in the beginning presence may drive the birds away. You must be patient and persistent. Eventually, the birds will come back.
  3. Once the birds are used to your presence there, you can hold a sugar-water feeder in your hand. Over time, the birds should eventually begin feeding from the feeder you are holding.
  4. On a day where you have a great deal of hummingbirds visiting your feeders, you will want to remove all but one of your hummingbird feeders. Next, you will want to place a small container filled with sugar-water in the palm of your hand. For example, when Abigail did this she used an old milk jug lid.
  5. Now comes the hard part, you must sit outside and wait. This takes time and patience. You will want to choose a day when you have a large number of hummingbirds visiting your yard and you will want to remove all other food sources, because this will improve your chances of success.
It truly amazes be that someone could actually get hummingbirds to feed from their hand. Personally, I don’t think I would ever have the patience for doing this. Nevertheless, I do love hummingbirds. Thank you, Abigail Alfano, for sharing with the world the steps of how you accomplished this remarkable task and also your personal photos of the event. What you have done is truly remarkable! You have also given others the hope that they too can accomplish this amazing feat as well. 

Jewels of the Aviary World

The two most popular outdoor activities in America are gardening and bird watching. Hummingbirds are a source of equal admiration and devotion among both groups. This is probably because these tiny birds never cease to amaze and fascinate those of us who truly enjoy them. 
Hummingbirds are often known as living jewels. This is because the feathers of the hummingbird are the most specialized of any bird feathers. On the throat of a hummingbird, it is only the outer third of each feather that is iridescent, due to the fact that it is this part of the feather that contains platelets which are filled with air bubbles. The platelets partially reflect back light, thus causing the brilliant colors that are seen on hummingbirds.
When the early European explorers wrote home about hummingbirds, they were dismissed as being liars or totally crazy and not in their right mind. This is because no one believed that it was actually possible for a bird the size of an insect to exist. 
Even when they are at rest, hummingbirds use enormous amounts of energy. The small body size of the hummingbird helps prevent them from overheating, because it dissipates the excess heat. If a human being were to burn calories at the same rate as the hummingbird does, the human would literally cook from the inside!
At night, hummingbirds must lower their body temperature to ensure they will survive the night. They do so at night by entering into a state known as torpor, which is a state similar to hibernation. Hummingbirds must enter this state to ensure that the birds won’t actually starve to death before down. Torpor is a type of deep sleep where an animal lowers its hart and metabolic rate. In a state of torpor the hummingbird lowers its metabolic rate by as much as 95%. A torpid hummingbird consumes up to 50 times less energy than when awake. The lowered metabolic rate also causes a cooled body temperature. A hummingbird’s night time body temperature is maintained at a level which is barely sufficient to maintain life. This level is known as their set point and it is far below the normal daytime body temperature of 104°F or 40°C known for other birds of similar size. 
The sleep of torpid hummingbirds is a sleep that is as deep as death. According to the book, American Ornithology, written by Alexander Wilson in 1832, torpor is described as follows: "No motion of the lungs could be perceived … the eyes were shut, and, when touched by the finger, [the bird] gave no signs of life or motion."
It takes approximately 20 minutes for a hummingbird to awaken from a state of torpor. When awakening, the hummingbird’s heart and breathing rates increase and they vibrate their wing muscles. The bird’s blood supply will be warmed by heat being generated by their vibrating muscles or from shivering. Shivering helps to warm the hummingbird’s body temperature by several degrees each minute and the bird awakens with enough energy reserves to see him through to his first feeding of the morning. Hummingbirds reliably awaken from torpor one or two hours before dawn without any known cues from the environment. It appears that the bird’s internal circadian clock is responsible for signaling when it is time to awaken from the state of torpor. 
It takes a lot to ensure that these jewels of the aviary world even make it through the night. They are truly one of natures most beautiful an amazing creatures. Let’s make sure that we never take their beauty or their efforts to fight for their own survival each day for granted. Without these tiny creatures, the world would be a far less beautiful place.
Dear Mom

Hummingbird Behavior

Mom this video made me think of you., because this is exactly the type of video that you would have enjoyed being able to view.   So mom, I’d like to believe that in heaven we are still able to enjoy all the same things that we did while here on this Earth.  If this is true, I know that you are up there enjoying this video right along with the rest of us.

This video is about the courtship of Anna’s hummingbird or  Calypte annae.  The courtship of this bird is marked by the extraordinary display of the male soaring and diving in flight. After mating, the female gathers materials to build a nest and lays two eggs. Once hatched, the chicks are fed predigested food.

This is the type of video that truly fascinates me, because it is so rare for the average individual to ever have the opportunity to witness the courtship of  any species of hummingbird.  Enjoy the video and happy hummingbird watching  everyone!  Until next time…