Those precious individuals completed a dangerous non-stop
flight over the Gulf of Mexico to get to our address, and we are
delighted that the hummingbirds have returned to Georgia and Baldwin
County. Thanks to son Arlin, I now display one of the most handsome
hummer feeders imaginable; it is a pleasure scrutinizing the garnet
colored vessel suspended outside my kitchen window.
There are numerous interesting facts and figures about
hummingbirds on the information-highway, the internet, so I decided to
share some of those particulars. The petite beings cannot walk; but
contrary to popular opinion, they do possess feet, however those
miniature appendages are feeble, and used mainly for perching while they
Hummers are thought to have the highest metabolism of any
animal, and a high breathing and heart rate to match their elevated body
temperature. Although the heart rate of hummers can increase to over
five hundred beats a minute, they have the ability to lower it to less
than fifty beat per minute when necessary. This hibernation-like state
of existence is known as torpor and it enables them to conserve energy
due to cool temperatures or the lack of a food source.
Curiously, while in the state of torpor they can lower
their body temperature from twenty to fifty degrees, and are considered
continuously on the verge of starvation even though they frequently
intake more than fourteen times their body weight in nectar every day.
If you need one more reason to adore these curious
beings, they ingest small insects such as gnats; they seize them in
flight with their lengthy and nearly invisible tongue.
Nectar can be purchased, but if you prefer to mix your
own, the standard formula for their preferred food is one part white
table sugar to four parts boiling water; mix well and let it cool to
room temperature before dispensing. Never use honey or artificial
sweetener, and red dye is not necessary; once they locate a container,
they will return year after year.
Our feisty visitors spend the long days of summer
clashing, bothering and dive-bombing each other while hastily refueling
for their next flight. So, as Woody and Emeril and associates fret and
worry each other, summertime moves forward in the northern part of
Baldwin County, Georgia.