By: Bears Butt

While sitting and drinking our morning coffee and watching the hummingbirds just outside the window I questioned the life span of a hummingbird.  Just how long do they live?

It appears in their daily efforts to drink up all the sugar water Sherry puts out they spend a whole lot of time flying back and forth from where ever they go in such a hurry, back to the feeder and then off again.  Constantly battling other hummingbirds for the feeder spots.  They are moving so fast it is a wonder they live longer than a few days.

Well, I went in search of my answer and there are quite a few different takes on the subject.  The first site I visited said that most hummingbirds don’t make it to see their first birthday, but that if they do, then their chance for surviving another two or three years is pretty good.

Other sites say the average life of a hummingbird is 3 to 4 years, while another says 6 years.  It looks like some additional study needs to be done on this subject.  But I can see a problem with banding and monitoring the little buggers.  After all, they weigh only about the weight of two penny’s, and how could you put a band on their leg that carries all the information you need to know about where, when, what time, how much it weighed and all the other stuff you need to know about banding a bird and monitoring it’s flight patterns etc.  The band would weigh more than the bird.  Well, someone will figure it out.

So, in my search I also found out that most hummingbirds don’t travel a whole lot of distance from their winter haven to their summer haven except of course the ones we have around northern Utah.  They have to travel to the warmer climates of Arizona and Mexico.  But along with that, the same type of hummingbirds we have here are also found in Alaska.  And those little guys have to winter in the same places as our little guys do.  So their flight takes them over 2,000 miles, one way!  That’s a lot of sugar water to have to drink.

Mom always told me that hummingbirds migrated by tucking themselves in under a gooses wing and would ride along.  I went searching for this and found that the “true myth” is that hummingbirds would ride on the backs of geese.  They disproved that theory quite well and of course anyone should be able to see through that one.  First off, there aren’t enough feathers deep enough for a hummingbird to locate itself on a gooses back for it to nestle into for the flight.  Secondly, hummingbirds like to see where they are going and riding high on a gooses back would not offer them a very good look of the ground directly below.  Hummingbirds like to see the ground directly below.  So, I’m thinking mother was right.  Hummingbirds cuddle up close to the gooses body right where the wing attaches to the body.  There are a substantial amount of feathers right there to nestle into.  The view is wonderful from that position and when the goose decides to land on the water the “arm pit” never gets wet.  A perfect place for a hummingbird to ride.

I also found this site and it has a whole lot of information on it about hummingbirds.

So, you might want to go to that link and read up on the little hummingbirds.  Pretty interesting stuff when you think about it.

Bears Butt

July 31, 2012


Written on July 31st, 2012 , Uncategorized

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    Lalie commented

    Thanks for the information Wynn… I was wondering the same thing as I watch my humming birds out my bedroom window.

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.