Hummingbirds are impressive little creatures.
They can buzz around faster than you can snap your fingers, and they are so fast that many people confuse them with bees or don’t even notice them. In fact, one species of hummingbird is so small that it’s been named after bees. The bee hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world. That doesn’t stop it from doing a big job.
These tiny birds have bright iridescent feathers, weigh less than a dime, and are native to Cuba.
These tiny birds are fast enough to evade most predators, but they do have to compete with insects, like moths and bumblebees, for nectar. They defend their favorite flowers by flying around and showing off. This helps scare the insects away.
Bee hummingbirds are very fast and agile.
They flap their wings over 200 times per second. This is much faster than other hummingbirds, who average about 80 beats per second. In order to keep doing this, they must eat their weight in nectar every day. They can visit over 1,500 flowers every day.
The females build tiny nests that are only about the size of a quarter and lay one or two pea-sized eggs once a year. The babies are very tiny when they hatch. Because of their size, they are vulnerable to predators. Still, deforestation is more dangerous to these small birds.
According to Animal Diversity:
“Bee hummingbirds are diurnal. Because of the climate they inhabit, they have no need to migrate long distances. They may make seasonal movements in response to the abundance and distribution of flowers. This species is capable of flying at speeds of 25 to 30 MPH.
“Bee hummingbirds (like other hummingbirds) have unique flying skills. They are able to fly straight up, down, backward, and even upside down. They hover by moving their wings in a figure-eight pattern which allows them to remain stationary in the air.
“Bee hummingbirds have adapted to the cool weather during the night by using torpor. During cold nights, their body temperature, which is normally 41 degrees C, falls to the air temperature around 30 degrees C. This allows them to conserve energy.
“The tiny male birds establish feeding territories, where they aggressively chase other males, bumblebees and hawk moths that try to feed in their territory. Aerial flights and intimidating displays are used to defend the territories.”
These adorable little creatures play an important role in their ecosystem.
They have been a threatened species since the early 19th century. There are numerous conservation efforts being made to prevent their homes from being lost and to protect them in the wild. The Cuban government regularly plants native plants and crops that the bee hummingbirds feed on in hopes of increasing populations.
The more we learn about these amazing little birds, the more we can do to protect them.
Most people will never see a bee hummingbird in their lives, and many of those who do won’t realize it. Bee hummingbirds do show up in other parts of the world, and it’s possible to attract them to your yard if you plant the right flowers. They will feed the hummingbirds, and the hummingbirds will, in turn, help pollinate the plants, so your garden grows better.
Creating the perfect ecosystem in your yard will not only give you a chance to observe these amazing little birds in action.
It will also help you do your part to increase bee hummingbird populations. We can’t afford to lose these creatures. They may be small, but they are beautiful and play a big role in our world.
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