Dear Mom

Some Illnesses of Hummingbirds

Cold and flu season is just around the corner, as the many fliers that I have seen posted all around recently have served to remind me. In fact, when I saw my family doctor recently, he also reminded me of this and he informed me that I would be receiving my flu shot in October. The upcoming flu season and my desire to prevent it got me to wondering about what illnesses are common in hummingbirds. Just like humans, I would imagine that it is common for nature’s animals to become ill. This is a topic that I’m sure you would have also wondered about mom, so I couldn’t help but think of you while doing the research.  Here’s what I discovered on the topic and I hope you will find it both interesting and informative.
Yes, mom, it is indeed possible for hummingbirds to suffer from illnesses in the wild. These can include fungal infections and the avian pox virus. Fungal infections can result in black bulbous growths on the bill. As a result, the bill will appear thickened and many times the tongue will also be thick and white, rather then having its normal transparent appearance.
With Avian pox there will be cauliflower like looking growths at the base of the bill, around the eyes, under the wings and on the legs and feet. In most cases, it is usually possible to identify an ill hummingbird its appearance. Here are some suggestions as to what to watch for.
Throughout the day, healthy hummingbirds will likely alert and actively preening, vocalizing, flying and defending territories. Unhealthy hummingbirds are probably those seen constantly perching on a feeder, have body feathers that are puffed out like a cotton ball (during the day), have their eyes closed or have tongues extending out of their bills.
Hummingbirds showing any of these signs will probably require immediate treatment by a wildlife rehabilitator/center as soon as possible. Until then, the most important thing anyone can do to try and help these birds is to provide heat and food.
Hummingbird Videos

Hummingbirds: How Many Eggs Do Hummingbirds Lay?

What is the most eggs that a hummingbird will lay during its lifetime?  What is the size of a hummingbird egg or nest?  This informative video will provide you with these answers as well as much more informative information about the hummingbird’s reproductive cycle. 

Dear Mom

Facts on the Range of Hummingbirds

Have you ever wondered what country has the most species of hummingbirds?  Or wanted to know how many different species breed in Mexico or Canada?  Do you know how many species breed in the United States?  If you have ever wondered the answers to any of these questions, then after reading this post you will have discovered the answers to the questions you may have wondered about but didn’t know the answer. 

This is the type of information that my mom would have enjoyed discovering, so each time I share something like this with you I can’t help but think of her.  Mom always loved watching nature shows on TV and learning information from them.  There were many occasion on which I would not have watched a show with her and later she would tell me something that she discovered while watching the show.

Here are some facts on the range of the hummingbird that I hope you will enjoy.  Do any of them surprise you?

  • The largest variety of hummingbirds is found in South America.  The country of Ecuador, which is located in Northwestern South America, has the greatest amount of species, an amazing 163 of them.
  • There are sixteen different species of hummingbirds which are known to breed in the United States.  This only 5 percent of the world’s total hummingbird population.
  • There are fifty species which regularly breed in Mexico.
  • There are only four species of hummingbirds which breed in Canada.  They are the Anna’s, Black-chinned, Calliope, and Rufous.

Hummingbirds Have Three Eyelids

As I have said before, just about anything can spark a possible topic for a post and this one is no different.  My niece is taking anatomy in college this semester and this got me to thinking about the anatomy of the hummingbird.  While I have discovered many interesting things about the hummingbird’s anatomy, this particular post will discuss the eyelids of the hummingbird.

It is interesting to note that the hummingbird has three eyelids.  A hummingbird has two regular eyelids which serve to block the light.  The third eyelid or Nictitating Membrane is clear and serves to protect the hummingbird’s eyes during flight. 

Anatomy is not a course in which I myself would have done well had I ever studied it in college.  Science was not my favorite subject, but nevertheless I am amazed and fascinated by how complex anatomy can be and that every organ or part serves a very specific function.  This is true in humans and in the creatures found in nature.


Moving Water Sources Attract Hummingbirds

Many people are aware that hummingbirds like water, but you may be surprised to discover that hummingbirds prefer a moving water source.  This is easier to provide then you might think.  It can be done through the use of sprinklers, misters, fountains, water falls and drippers.  Hummingbirds often like to preen or fly through a moving water source as a way to bathe or cool themselves off.  

It will also help you attract more hummingbirds if the water source is kept clean and the water is fresh.  It is all so recommended that the water source is placed near nectar rich flowers, because this will help entice the hummingbirds to visit your yard. 

Why not try providing some of these various types of moving water sources as a way to help you attract the hummingbirds?  When I was growing up, my mom only had a fountain in the back yard as a source of water for the hummingbirds birds to use.  I don’t think that that it ever really occurred to my mom to use any of the other moving water sources listed above.  You can bet that if she were still alive today that I would be telling her about them and then watching even more hummingbirds flock to our yard,