The beak or bill of a hummingbird is extremely small. It is not uncommon for a hummingbird to get their beak or bill stuck in window screens. This can not only harm the hummingbird but can cause the bird to starve to death if it is not rescued or removed from the screen quickly. To help you better understand this man made danger to the hummingbird, I thought it would help if you understood more about the hummingbird’s beak or bill.
The beak or bill on a hummingbird is longer in proportion to their body than other birds. This is so they can reach deep down into tubular flowers to extract the nectar from it. Many people have the misconception that the hummingbird’s beak is hollow, but this is not true. The hummingbird does not drink nectar up as if drinking it through a straw.
The beak or bill has an upper and lower portion, much like any other bird. Both the upper and lower beak is covered in a substance called rhamphotheca. This sheath is made of a keratin like material much like your fingernails. The top of the beak, called the maxilla, overlaps the lower beak slightly. The lower beak is also slightly flexible and can widen and bend lightly downward as the hummingbirds open their mouths. Hummingbirds have a joint in the upper jaw, just behind the maxilla. This joint enables the maxilla to bend back toward the head slightly as the hummingbirds open their mouths. When a hummingbird is less than one year of age, the maxilla is rough with corrugations along the sides and edges. Hummingbirds older than one year of age have smoother sides and edges. A few adult hummingbirds will have some minor corrugations throughout their lifetimes.
There is no way to know how frequently a hummingbird’s beak or bill becomes stuck in a window screen. You just need to be aware that window screens can be a man made danger to hummingbirds due to the fact that their beak or bill can get stuck in there. If this occurs, you may need to help remove the bird or it may quickly starve to death and die as a result of its bill or beak getting stuck in the window screen.
The information contained in this post about the hummingbird’s break or bill is not mine. It comes from the World of Hummingbirds.Com and I wish to give proper credit to that source.