Hummingbirds: Peppy Little Pollinators
Mar 16, 2020
The arrival of warmer weather means hummingbirds – those beautiful, bitsy, fluttering birds – are showing up in our yards and parks, feeding from freshly bloomed flowers and spreading pollen as they travel from plant to plant.
While bees get a lot of buzz as pollinators, hummingbirds, too, play an important role in pollination. When visiting flowers, they not only feed on the nectar, they collect pollen from the stamens and pistils on their heads, which then gets dispersed to the native wildflowers in parks and plants in your garden that they visit. The resulting pollination allows these plants to produce fruits or seeds.
These small-but-mighty birds have many characteristics unique to their species. Hummingbirds can fly forward, backward and upside down, with wings flapping between 50-80 beats per second. They eat half their weight in nectar and insects every day. They are the smallest migrating bird, lay the smallest eggs, and the Bee Hummingbird of Cuba is the world’s smallest bird.
Although hummingbirds have a surprisingly poor sense of smell, they have excellent vision; Their “eagle eyes” are attracted to red and other bright colors, which explains why many hummingbird feeders are colored this way.
The Wild Bird Center has a wide selection of hummingbird feeders, from practical to beautiful, and “Pure Hummer Sugar” that is all-natural and easy to feed from any hummer feeder. This food provides a great source of energy for these diminutive birds.
To further attract hummers to your yard, you can add these plants to your garden:
· Coral Honeysuckle
· Cardinal Flower
There are over 340 species of hummingbirds in the world, with 10 who spend their summers in North America. If a hummingbird discovers your feeder, it will likely return every 15 minutes for months – and will return every year – so long as the feeder is kept full.
These smallest of birds with a large appetite provide hours of entertainment, so keep those feeders full and watch your yard come alive!