Audubon Asks…Did You Know?

Courtesy of Skidaway Audubon

Did you know that hummingbirds don’t really hum? The humming is not vocal but comes from the rapid wing beats. A hummingbird beats its wings on average 50 times per second and much faster during courtship when males angle their feathers to create trilling noises and gain a female’s attention. They average 30 mph and can hit 60 mph during mating rituals.

The average nest is about the size of a large walnut. Built by females, nests are made of lichen, moss, and spider webs. It takes about five days to construct. The eggs look like mini white jellybeans. Would you like to help Mrs. Hummingbird? Plant clematis, honeysuckle, milkweed, or other plants with soft fibers, which they often use as lining for their little nests.

Hummingbirds are the only birds that can fly backward, which helps them remove their bill and tongue from elongated flowers. Hummingbirds use their tongues to lap up nectar at about 13 licks per second. The birds feed on both nectar and bugs. A hummingbird can eat hundreds of fruit flies each day. 

Skidaway Audubon has launched an island-wide initiative called Nature Notices, which encourages residents to replace sections of their lawn with groupings of understory trees, native greenery, and pollinator plants to provide needed habitat for declining numbers of hummingbirds, songbirds, butterflies, and other wildlife. It also can decrease lawn maintenance, reduce water use and increase home values. Nature notices when its home and food sources are destroyed. Wildlife-friendly yards can help stem the loss of critical habitat. To learn more, visit

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

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