What is a Hummingbird Call?

  • The Hummingbird call is one of two basic vocal sounds made by the hummingbird with the other one being a song.
  • The call of a hummingbird allows the bird to communicate information such as the bird’s age, sex, species or even its emotional state.
  • The use of calls allows the hummingbirds draw attention to danger, express pain or fear, or as a method used to intimidate their competitors.
  • The ability to call will usually occur within minutes of when they leave the nest. 
Dear Mom

What Does Hummingbird Banding Teach Us?

This post makes me think of my mom, because she was always curious as to how exactly researchers were able to study and learn about hummingbirds.  When this subject came up in discussion, my mom had said to me that she had heard of the term banding before but that she wasn’t really sure how that would tell researchers any kind of useful information.  At the time, I did not have an explanation that would answer her question.  Well, I have since discovered the answer and will now share it with all of you.

The term banding simply refers to the placement of tiny, lightweight aluminum band on the hummingbird’s feet which has a unique identification number on them that will belong to a specific bird throughout its entire lifetime.  This band will serve to help researchers begin to better understand things like hummingbird migration, behavior, ecology, and biology.  The collective information gathered by the various banders or members of the pubic will  provide information on things such as longevity survivorship, site fidelity, migration routes, and the timing of these birds.

While the bird is being banded, it remains in captivity only for a very brief period of time, a matter of just a few minutes, so absolutely no harm will come to the bird as a result of it.  During this time, researchers are gathering data on such things as the bids species, age, sex,the lengths of the bird’s bill, wing and tail, the condition of the feathers, evidence as to whether or not breeding has taken place, if disease or parasites are found on the bird, and finally pollen samples or some of the feathers may be gathered and studied.

So you see, even the brief encounters that the bird banders get to have with the hummingbirds it provides them with valuable information on these birds.  Are you at all surprised by just how much hummingbird banding can teach us about these birds?  I truly believe that my mom would have been completely shocked to discover the sheer volume of information that hummingbird banding can tell us about these utterly fascinating birds.  With luck, this knowledge will help to ensure the long-term survival of these creatures called hummingbirds.

Much of the information for this post comes from Patterson Field Guides:  Hummingbirds of North America by Sheri L. Williamson.  As the author of this book, I wish to ensure that she is given proper credit for her work.  Thanks for providing such an informative resource for anyone wanting to learn about hummingbirds. 


The Costa’s Hummingbird

The Costa’s Hummingbird is commonly found in the desserts of California and Arizona.  It leaves the dessert during the hottest days of summer and can then be found to have moved to a shrub, woodland, or chaparral habitat.

One interesting fact about the Costa’s Hummingbird, when it is in a torpid state, its heart rate is only about 50 beats per minute.  When the bird is not in a torpid state and it is resting, the Costa’s hummingbird usually has a heart rate of between 500-900 beats per minute.

This information comes from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.


What is Gleaning?

Hummingbirds require protein as a part of their diet and about 10 percent of their diet consist of protein.  The hummingbird will gather this through what is known as gleaning, which is when the hummingbirds hunt for insects or other prey while searching on barks, leaves or other surfaces or other hiding places.  So, it seems that the practice of gleaning actually places a vital role in helping to try and ensure that the hummingbird has a more balanced diet.  This is extremely important because no hummingbird can ever survive on nectar alone.

Hummingbird Feeders

Avoid the Color Yellow On Your Feeder

Anyone who is a hummingbird enthusiast is probably all too aware that both bees and wasp are some of the most common pest that often visit your hummingbird feeders.  It is often a constant and never ending battle to keep these pest away from your feeders and in the past  I have discussed a wide variety of ways you can try and detour them, but today I want to focus on another method which is surprisingly simple which you may have never even thought of before.  What exactly is this surprising discovery?

The shockingly simple way to help and detour the bees and wasps from frequenting your hummingbird feeder is to avoid having yellow on it.  It is just that simple,don’t have yellow on the feeder.  Why should you avoid having yellow on the feeder?  Both bees and wasp find the color yellow to be quite attractive which then attracts them to the feeder, but they do not find the color red attractive and will therefore be less likely to visit your feeders. 

If the feeder you currently using has those plastic bee guards or flowers, then I suggest that you paint them red using non-toxic paint to help lesson the attractiveness of the feeder to the bees and wasp and yet the hummingbirds you are trying so hard to attract will still visit your feeders.

Who knew that the yellow found on your feeders could be yet another thing which was causing the bees and wasp to be so attracted to your feeder.  It is so simple to avoid so why not do yourself and the hummingbirds a favor by doing so.

This shockingly simple solution would have been of great interest to my mom who was an extremely practical  women by nature and who was therefore always looking for simple and effective ways to accomplish things.  I can easily envision her having shared her new found knowledge with any other hummingbird enthusiast she might have known.  Well mom, since you are unable to do so yourself, I will pass this knowledge along for you to all who read this post.