Friday, August 10, 2012

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby Throated Hummingbird
Unquestionably our smallest bird, hummingbirds can sometimes be confused with large dragonflies by non-bird people.  There are eighteen different species of this amazing little bird, but only the Ruby-Throated exists east of the Mississippi, and our immediate area of the Midwest.  The other species can be found in the West and the Southwest.  If you are close enough to one, you'll hear his rapidly beating little wings "humm," like a bee.  In fact his main source of food is the nectar from flowering plants, and small insects.

The second photo here was taken by my brother Tony just last week, while he and his wife,Carol were vacationing in the Porcupine Mountains of northern Michigan.  I thought they were roughing it in the wilderness, but then his photo indicates that he must have taken it in someone's backyard, maybe enjoying a barbecue.


  1. In answer to the question, 'do hummingbirds have heart attacks,:

    "Hummingbirds, like all flying birds but more so, have incredible enormous immense ferocious metabolisms. To drive those metabolisms they have race-car hearts that eat oxygen at an eye-popping rate. Their hearts are built of thinner, leaner fibers than ours. Their arteries are stiffer and more taut. They have more mitochondria in their heart muscles -- anything to gulp more oxygen. Their hearts are stripped to the skin for the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search for food, the insane idea of flight. The price of their ambition is a life closer to death; they suffer heart attacks and aneurysms and ruptures more than any other living creature. It's expensive to fly. You burn out. You fry the machine. You melt the engine. Every creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime. You can spend them slowly, like a tortoise, and live to be two hundred years old, or you can spend them fast, like a hummingbird, and live to be two years old."


  2. BTW, "How to Use This Calendar" is me, Kay. (How I got that handle is a longish, boring story). ;-)