The lively little Ruby throated hummingbirds inhabit the eastern portion of the United States. In fact they are the only type of hummingbirds seen in the east. They range from the gulf coast all the way up into south Canada.
They bless us with their beauty and energy during the summer months. Then each fall they fly across the Caribbean to Mexico or Central America for the winter. A few spend the winter in south Florida.
The top of his head, sides and back also have iridescent feathers that glisten green in the sunlight. Without direct sunlight his colors looks dark.
His primary wing feathers and tail are dark. There is a notch in the center of his tail. The beak and legs are dark.
Just below his ruby throat, the top part of his chest is white before a light-colored belly.
Her head and back are iridescent green like the males. Her tail, large wing feathers, beak and legs are also dark.
Her tail is not notched, but the tips of her tail feathers are white on the outside corners.
But before they grow their entire set of feathers, you can see their white fuzzy bottoms, identifying them as youngsters.
They get around very fast for such little birds. Their wings beat up to 50 times a second and that is what makes their humming sound.
These tiny birds are the acrobats of the bird world. They are able to fly forward, backward, hover and even fly upside down for a short time.
All their high activity uses a lot of food. They eat every 10 to 15 minutes and consume 2 to 3 times their weight in food every day.
They live in yards, open wooded areas and places that have the flowers they like.
They are particularly attracted to red or orange flowers. But best of all they like trumpet shaped flowers because they hold more nectar.
Plant some of their favorite flowers like, petunia, bee balm, trumpet vine, fuchsias or honeysuckle.
If there aren't enough flowers for them, they are more than happy to come to our feeders. You can make hummingbird food and put up a feeder for them.
She spends 6 to 10 days building a nest. The nest will roughly be the size of a ping pong ball. The male does not help with any nest building or baby care.
She builds the nest using small leaves, grass, fur, moss, lichens and spider webs. The spider webs enable the nest to stretch larger as the babies grow.
When the nest is complete she will lay 2 eggs a 1/2" in size. The eggs will hatch in 12 to 14 days.
They grow fast and after three weeks they will start exercising their wings on the side of the nest. After they leave the nest mom will continue to feed them for a few days until they are able to find food on their own.
In the fall, August to September depending on exactly where they live, the adults head south for the winter.
The juveniles hang back and eat and then head south weeks after the older hummingbirds have already left.
Then in the spring March to April, they all fly back to the same area they left in the fall. They remember where the feeders and flowers were from last year.
Then in the spring they fly the long way back to the area where they were hatched. They return to the same area and sometimes to the same nest and feeders they used the year before.
Many hummingbirds live on the average of four to five years. The Ruby-throats may live from seven to nine years.
They come back to the same place each year, mostly to the area where they hatched. They remember where they found their favorite flowers and feeders the year before.
There was a female Ruby-throat hummer in Florida that would tell me if I didn't have their feeder up in time. She would fly around looking in the window where her feeder was supposed to be hanging.