Sat

05

May

2012

Life on Distant Hill Blog ... Ruby-throated Hummingbird

A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a feeder at Distant Hill Gardens.
A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a feeder at Distant Hill Gardens.
A female Ruby-throated dosen't have a ruby-throat.
A female Ruby-throated dosen't have a ruby-throat.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have returned to Distant Hill Gardens. As part of their spring migration, some of these birds fly across the Gulf of Mexico, a 500 mile (800 km), non-stop flight over water.

 

These tiny birds, the only hummingbird species to breed in eastern North America, don't just consume nectar but are omnivores, also feeding on insects and spiders. An adult ruby-throated hummingbird may eat twice its body weight in food each day, which it needs to sustain its high metabolism. Its rapid wing movement of 53 beats per second must burn up the calories quickly!

 

Females ruby-throats provide all care for young hummingbirds, often having several broods each year. They lay one to three eggs, incubate them for about two weeks, and, after hatching, feed their young for about three weeks. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are largely solitary outside of the breeding season.

 

Of all hummingbirds in the United States, this species has the largest breeding range, covering all the states east of the Mississippi River.