Bird of the Week: Hummingbird

I have decided to profile different birds during the summer, one per week. I will start with the birds popular here in West Virginia (Appalachian region) then move on to birds we do not usually see.

I am starting this series with one of my personal favorites, the hummingbird. I have a hummingbird that I call my hummingbird. It has been coming to my yard for the past couple years and I know it’s the same because it keeps visiting where I kept my feeder in previous years and it has flown at my head along with my family members’ heads to remind us when the feeder is empty.

Hummingbirds are more than beautiful additions to yards. They are pollinators that flit to different flowers and help spread plant seed. Not only do they help pollinate gardens, they eat insects so they can act as pest control as well.

Hummingbird Facts

Hummingbirds are naturally lighter weight. They don’t have as many feathers nor do they have very big feet. They don’t walk or hop like most birds do, they are built for flying.

Hummingbirds are intelligent enough to remember who puts feeders out and can (and will) return yearly when someone puts a feeder out every year. They even can seem to communicate when the feeder isn’t out or is empty (my hummingbird will fly at my head or come up close to my face when my feeder is empty)

If you want to attract hummingbirds, use red flowers or red feeders. You won’t see them snubbing other colors, but red is the most attractive color.

Photo by Frank Cone on

There is a chance that the red dye typically added to traditional hummingbird food is harmful to hummingbirds, but making your own is super simple and easy. Having feeders out can also take some upkeep because you need to wash the feeder on a regular basis. Some people suggest to wash in vinegar water and to wash at least once a week.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on

DIY Hummingbird Food

Take four parts water and 1 part normal, cane sugar and boil it down. Make sure the sugar is dissolved. Let it cool (don’t make my mistake- you’ll destroy your feeder if you forget and pour boiling water directly into the feeder).

Random Facts

Hummingbirds are the fastest birds, they can fly between 36mph all the way to 60mph and are the only birds able to fly backwards.

Hummingbird’s wings fly in a figure eight and beat between 50 and 200 times a second.

Hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive birds. If they find a particular area they prefer feeding, they will defend it from other birds. They will also remember favored feeding spots and will return annually. If you feel like the hummingbirds are the same yearly at your feeder- you’re likely correct.

Next bird will be the bird I see the most in my yard, the robin.

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