Rufous-tailed Hummingbird (Amazilia tzacatl) by Judd Patterson
LESSON XXI. HUMMING BIRDS.
McGuffey’s Third Eclectic Reader from Gutenberg.org
1. The most beautiful humming birds are found in the West Indies and South America. The crest of the tiny head of one of these shines like a sparkling crown of colored light.
2. The shades of color that adorn its breast, are equally brilliant. As the bird flits from one object to another, it looks more like a bright flash of sunlight than it does like a living being.
Magnificent Hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) by Judd Patterson
3. But, you ask, why are they called humming birds? It is because they make a soft, humming noise by the rapid motion of their wings—a motion so rapid, that as they fly you can only see that they have wings.
4. One day when walking in the woods, I found the nest of one of the smallest humming birds. It was about half the size of a very small hen’s egg, and was attached to a twig no thicker than a steel knitting needle.
Vervain Hummingbird (Mellisuga minima) WikiC
5. It seemed to have been made of cotton fibers, and was covered with the softest bits of leaf and bark. It had two eggs in it, quite white, and each about as large as a small sugarplum.
6. When you approach the spot where one of these birds has built its nest, it is necessary to be careful. The mother bird will dart at you and try to peck your eyes. Its sharp beak may hurt your eyes most severely, and even destroy the sight.
7. The poor little thing knows no other way of defending its young, and instinct teaches it that you might carry off its nest if you could find it.
“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young;” (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)
Learn more about one of
God’s most unusual creatures by watching our video
“Double Life of the Hummingbird”
Who doesn’t love the beautiful hummingbird? You’ll love them even more after viewing our “Double Life of the Hummingbird” video! That’s because you’ll about the unique abilities their Designer has given them. Truly, hummingbirds bear evidence of God’s creative hand!
This Week’s Creation Action Moment
1. Watch our “Double Life of the Hummingbird” video by clicking on the picture above.
2. Then check out our Moments with God’s Creation 3-DVD set to add this video and more than 70 others like it to your home DVD collection. Your whole family will enjoy watching videos like these:
Learn more about one of God’s most
unusual creatures by watching our video
“Double Life of the Hummingbird”
Who doesn’t love the beautiful hummingbird? You’ll love them even more after viewing our “Double Life of the Hummingbird” video! That’s because you’ll learn about the unique abilities their Designer has given them. Truly, hummingbirds bear evidence of God’s creative hand!
This Week’s Creation Action Moment:
1. Watch our “Double Life of the Hummingbird” video by clicking here or on the picture above.
Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) for Birds Illustrated
Allens Humming Bird. From col. F. M. Woodruff.Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.
ALLEN’S HUMMING BIRD.
HE Humming birds, with their varied beauties, constitute the most remarkable feature of the bird-life of America. They have absolutely no representatives in any other part of the world, the Swifts being the nearest relatives they have in other countries. Mr. Forbes says that they abound most in mountainous countries, where the surface and productions of the soil are most diversified within small areas. They frequent both open and rare and inaccessible places, and are often found on the snowy peaks of Chimborazo as high as 16,000 feet, and in the very lowest valleys in the primeval forests of Brazil, the vast palm-covered districts of the deltas of the Amazon and Orinoco, the fertile flats and savannahs of Demarara, the luxurious and beautiful region of Xalapa, (the realm of perpetual sunshine), and other parts of Mexico. Many of the highest cones of extinct and existing volcanoes have also furnished great numbers of rare species.
These birds are found as small as a bumble bee and as large as a Sparrow. The smallest is from Jamaica, the largest from Patagonia.
Allen’s Hummer is found on the Pacific coast, north to British Columbia, east to southern Arizona.
Mr. Langille, in “Our Birds in their Haunts,” beautifully describes their flights and manner of feeding. He says “There are many birds the flight of which is so rapid that the strokes of their wings cannot be counted, but here is a species with such nerve of wing that its wing strokes cannot be seen. ‘A hazy semi-circle of indistinctness on each side of the bird is all that is perceptible.’ Poised in the air, his body nearly perpendicular, he seems to hang in front of the flowers which he probes so hurriedly, one after the other, with his long, slender bill. That long, tubular, fork-shaped tongue may be sucking up the nectar from those rather small cylindrical blossoms, or it may be capturing tiny insects housed away there. Much more like a large sphynx moth hovering and humming over the flowers in the dusky twilight, than like a bird, appears this delicate, fairy-like beauty. How the bright green of the body gleams and glistens in the sunlight. Each imperceptible stroke of those tiny wings conforms to the mechanical laws of flight in all their subtle complications with an ease and gracefulness that seems spiritual. Who can fail to note that fine adjustment of the organs of flight to aerial elasticity and gravitation, by which that astonishing bit of nervous energy can rise and fall almost on the perpendicular, dart from side to side, as if by magic, or, assuming the horizontal position, pass out of sight like a shooting star? Is it not impossible to conceive of all this being done by that rational calculation which enables the rower to row, or the sailor to sail his boat?”
“What heavenly tints in mingling radiance fly,
Each rapid movement gives a different dye;
Like scales of burnished gold they dazzling show,
Now sink to shade, now like a furnace glow.”
ALLEN’S HUMMING BIRD.—Selasphorus alleni.
Range—Pacific coast, north to British Columbia, east to southern Arizona.
I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind. (Psalms 50:11 AMP)
Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. (Job 40:10 KJV)
Hummingbirds are very special to me and this Allen’s Hummingbird is no exception. I am always amazed at how the Lord created all these fantastic birds. They are so small, compared to most other birds. There little feet are a delight to see. They belong to the Trochilidae – Hummingbirds Family which has 341 species currently.
The Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) is a species of hummingbird. The Allen’s Hummingbird is a small bird, with mature adults reaching only 3 to 3½ inches (75 to 90 mm) in length. The male Allen’s has a green back and forehead, with rust-colored rufous flanks, rump, and tail. The male’s throat is also an iridescent orange-red. The female and immature Allen’s Hummingbirds are similarly colored, but lack the iridescent throat patch, instead having a series of speckles on their throat. Females are mostly green, featuring rufous colors only on the tail, which also has white tips. The immature Allen’s Hummingbirds are so similar to the female Rufous Hummingbird that the two are almost indistinguishable in the field. Both species’ breeding seasons and ranges are common factors used to differentiate between the two species in a particular geographical area. They belong to the Trochilidae – Hummingbirds Family which has 341 species currently.
The Allen’s Hummingbird is common only in the brushy woods, gardens, and meadows of coastal California from Santa Barbara north, and a minuscule portion of lower Oregon. The nominate race of Allen’s Hummingbird is migratory, and winters along the Pacific coast of central Mexico. A second race is a permanent resident on the Channel Islands off southern California. (“It has a longer wing, tail, and bill“) This population colonized the Palos Verdes Peninsula of Los Angeles County in the 1960s and has since spread over much of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.
The courtship flight of the male Allen’s Hummingbird is a frantic back and forth flight arc of about 25 feet (7.5 m) similar to the motion of a swinging pendulum, followed by a high-speed dive from about 100 feet (30 m). The male is also highly aggressive and territorial. Hot-tempered despite its diminutive stature, a male Allen’s Hummingbird will chase any other males from its territory, as well as any other hummingbird species, and they have even been known to attack and rout predatory birds several times larger than themselves such as kestrels and hawks.
The Allen’s Hummingbird constructs its nest out of plant fibers, down, and weed stems, coating the nest with lichens to give it structure. The nest is placed above ground on a tree branch or the stalk or stem of a plant. The female lays two white eggs, which she will incubate for 15 to 17 days. The young will leave the nest about three weeks after hatching. The mother will continue to feed the fledglings for several more weeks, then the young are left to fend for themselves.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
The Ruby-throated Humming Bird or Birds Illustrated by Color Photography, 1897
THE RUBY-THROATED HUMMING BIRD.
Is it a gem, half bird,
Or is it a bird, half gem?
F all animated beings this is the most elegant in form and the most brilliant in colors, says the great naturalist Buffon. The stones and metals polished by our arts are not comparable to this jewel of Nature. She has it least in size of the order of birds, maxime miranda in minimis. Her masterpiece is the Humming bird, and upon it she has heaped all the gifts which the other birds may only share. Lightness, rapidity, nimbleness, grace, and rich apparel all belong to this little favorite. The emerald, the ruby, and the topaz gleam upon its dress. It never soils them with the dust of earth, and its aerial life scarcely touches the turf an instant. Always in the air, flying from flower to flower, it has their freshness as well as their brightness. It lives upon their nectar, and dwells only in the climates where they perennially bloom.
All kinds of Humming birds are found in the hottest countries of the New World. They are quite numerous and seem to be confined between the two tropics, for those which penetrate the temperate zones in summer stay there only a short time. They seem to follow the sun in its advance and retreat; and to fly on the zephyr wing after an eternal spring.
The smaller species of the Humming birds are less in size than the great fly wasp, and more slender than the drone. Their beak is a fine needle and their tongue a slender thread. Their little black eyes are like two shining points, and the feathers of their wings so delicate that they seem transparent. Their short feet, which they use very little, are so tiny one can scarcely see them. They rarely alight during the day. They have a swift continual humming flight. The movement of their wings is so rapid that when pausing in the air, the bird seems quite motionless. One sees him stop before a blossom, then dart like a flash to another, visiting all, plunging his tongue into their hearts, flattening them with his wings, never settling anywhere, but neglecting none. He hastens his inconsistencies only to pursue his loves more eagerly and to multiply his innocent joys. For this light lover of flowers lives at their expense without ever blighting them. He only pumps their honey, and for this alone his tongue seems designed.
The vivacity of these small birds is only equaled by their courage, or rather their audacity. Sometimes they may be seen furiously chasing birds twenty times their size, fastening upon their bodies, letting themselves be carried along in their flight, while they peck fiercely until their tiny rage is satisfied. Sometimes they fight each other vigorously. Impatience seems their very essence. If they approach a blossom and find it faded, they mark their spite by a hasty rending of the petals. Their only voice is a weak cry of Screp, screp, frequent and repeated, which they utter in the woods from dawn until at the first rays of the sun they all take flight and scatter over the country.
The Ruby-throat is the only native Humming bird of eastern North America, where it is a common summer resident from May to October, breeding from Florida to Labrador. The nest is a circle an inch and a half in diameter, made of fern wood, plant down, and so forth, shingled with lichens to match the color of the branch on which it rests. Its only note is a shrill, mouse-like squeak. From col. F. M. Woodruff.Copyrighted by Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Ray’s Wildlife
THE RUBY-THROATED HUMMING BIRD.
Dear Young Folks:
I fancy you think I cannot stop long enough to tell you a story, even about myself. It is true, I am always busy with the flowers, drinking their honey with my long bill, as you must be busy with your books, if you would learn what they teach. I always select for my food the sweetest flowers that grow in the garden.
Do you think you would be vain if you had my beautiful colors to wear? Of course, you would not, but so many of my brothers and sisters have been destroyed to adorn the bonnets and headdresses of the thoughtless that the children cannot be too early taught to love us too well to do us harm. Have you ever seen a ruby? It is one of the most valued of gems. It is the color of my throat, and from its rare and brilliant beauty I get a part of my name. The ruby is worn by great ladies and, with the emerald and topaz, whose bright colors I also wear, is much esteemed as an ornament.
If you will come into the garden in the late afternoon, between six and seven o’clock, when I am taking my supper, and when the sun is beginning to close his great eye, you will see his rays shoot sidewise and show all the splendor of my plumage. You will see me, too, if your eyes are sharp enough, draw up my tiny claws, pause in front of a rose, and remain seemingly motionless. But listen, and you will hear the reason for my name—a tense humming sound. Some call me a Hummer indeed.
I spend only half the year in the garden, coming in May and saying farewell in October. After my mate and I are gone you may find our nest. But your eyes will be sharp indeed if they detect it when the leaves are on the trees, it is so small and blends with the branches. We use fern-wool and soft down to build it, and shingle it with lichens to match the branch it nests upon. You should see the tiny eggs of pure white. But we, our nest and our eggs, are so dainty and delicate that they should never be touched. We are only to be looked at and admired.
Farewell. Look for me when you go a-Maying.
RUBY-THROATED HUMMING BIRD.—Trochilus colubris.
Range—Eastern North America to the Plains north to the fur countries, and south in winter to Cuba and Veragua.
Nest—A circle an inch and a half in diameter, made of fern wool, etc., shingled with lichens to match the color of the branch on which it is saddled.
Eggs—Two; pure white, the size of soup beans.
Hummingbird nest by Bob-Nan
Like birds hovering, so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; He will protect and deliver it, He will pass over and spare and preserve it. (Isaiah 31:5 AMP)
The Lord has created another fantastic little bird. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is 7–9 cm (2.8–3.5 in) long and has a 8–11 cm (3.1–4.3 in) wingspan. Adults are metallic green above and greyish white below, with near-black wings. Their bill, at up to 2 cm (0.79 in), is long, straight and very slender. As in all hummingbirds, the toes and feet of this species are quite small, with a middle toe of around 0.6 cm (0.24 in) and a tarsus of approximately 0.4 cm (0.16 in). The Ruby-throated Hummingbird can only shuffle if it wants to move along a branch, though it can scratch its head and neck with its feet.
Hummingbirds have many skeletal and flight muscle adaptations which allow the bird great agility in flight. Muscles make up 25-30% of their body weight, and they have long, blade-like wings that, unlike the wings of other birds, connect to the body only from the shoulder joint. This adaptation allows the wing to rotate almost 180°, enabling the bird to fly not only forward but fly backwards, and to hover in front of flowers as it feeds on nectar, or hovers mid-air to catch tiny insects. Hummingbirds are the only known birds that can fly backwards. During hovering, (and likely other modes of flight) ruby-throated hummingbird wings beat 55 times per second.
The Hummingbirds are in the Trochilidae – Hummingbirds Family and there are 342 species (IOC 3.1) members. I think they are one of the neatest families that the Creator designed. They are so colorful and many have an iridescent shine to them when they turn in the sun just the right way.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is a small hummingbird. It is the only species of hummingbird that regularly nests east of the Mississippi River in North America.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) -Turkey Run SP by Lee
The breeding habitat is throughout most of eastern North America and the Canadian prairies, in deciduous and pine forests and forest edges, orchards, and gardens. The female builds a nest in a protected location in a shrub or a tree. Of all North American hummingbirds, this species has the largest breeding range.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is migratory, spending most of the winter in southern Mexico, Central America as far south as South America, and the West Indies. It breeds throughout the eastern United States, east of the 100th meridian, and in southern Canada in eastern and mixed deciduous forest. In winter, it is seen mostly in Mexico.
The above article is an article in the monthly serial for September 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, And forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. (Job 39:13-15 KJV)
The largest bird egg is from the Ostrich Sturthio camelus. The egg measures 15 – 20 cm long, 10 – 15 cm in diameter and weighs 1 – 1.78 kg.
Largest egg ~ Ostrich ~ measuring 17.8 by 14 cm (7 by 4.5 in)
Smallest egg laid relative to body weight ~ Ostrich egg ~ at 1.5%
Smallest known egg ~ the Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima of Jamacia and nearby islets. The egg is barely the size of a pea and measures less than 10 mm in length and weighs 0.356 g.
You could put 4700 bee hummingbird eggs inside one ostrich egg. The Bee Hummingbird egg is the size of a small pea and weighs .02 ounces. World’s Smallest Bird
Smallest egg ~ West Indian Vervain Hummingbird ~ at 10 mm (0.39 in) in length and 0.375 g (0.0132 oz)
Smallest Egg – living ~ Vervain Hummingbird Mellisuga minima ~ the size of pea
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:12-13 KJV)
Different Eggs- Birds and Others – from Wikipedia
The majority of avian eggs match the shape of chicken eggs, but there are some exceptions.
Budgies, for instance, tend to lay very round eggs.
Fast-flying, stream-lined birds like swifts and swallows lay long, elliptical eggs.
The Royal Albatross’ eggs take 79 days to hatch.
Precocial birds like chickens, ostriches, ducks, and seagulls hatch ready to move around. They come from eggs with bigger yolks than altricial birds like owls, woodpeckers, and most small songbirds that need a lot of care from parents in order to survive.
Longest interval between eggs laid ~ Maleo ~ at 1012 day intervals
Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) by Robert Scanlon by Robert Scanlon
Largest clutch laid by a nidicolous species ~ 19 eggs laid by a European Blue Tit
Largest clutch laid by a nidifugous species ~ 28 by a Bobwhite Quail
Largest average clutch size ~ 15-19 by a Gray Partridge
Smallest clutch size ~ 1 egg laid every 2 years by Albatrosses
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) By Dan’sPix at Lake Hollingsworth
Greatest number of eggs laid consecutively ~ 146 by a Mallard
Most valuable bird ~ 8 billion domestic chickens ~ produce 562 billion eggs annually
Highest price paid for an egg ~ 1,000 British pounds for an egg of extinct Aepyornis maximus
And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. (Isaiah 10:14 KJV)
Bird eggshells are diverse. For example:
Cormorant eggs are rough and chalky
Tinamou eggs are shiny
Duck eggs are oily and waterproof
Cassowary eggs are heavily pitted
Tiny pores in bird eggshells allow the embryo to breathe. The domestic hen’s egg has around 7500 pores.
The most yolks ever found in a single chicken’s egg is nine.
Largest individual nest ~ Mallee Fowl Australia Leipoa ocellata ~ builds a mound 5 m (16.5ft) high and 11 metres (36ft) wide. A mound this size means the bird moved 250 cubic metres of vegetation and 300 tons of soil.
Smallest nest ~
many seabirds do not make a nest at all, nest on ground or
in case of Fairy Tern on a branch of a tree
The prize goes to the Hummingbirds for their thimble sized (1cm squared) nests.
The largest nest was built by a pair of Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus was 2.9 m wide and 6 m deep.
The Rhinoceros Auklet Cerorhinca monocerata which measures 35 cm and nests on islands in the North Pacific excavates a burrow of 2 – 3 m in length. Burrows up to 6 m are not uncommon and 8 m burrows have also been found.
The only species of parrot that builds a nest is the Quaker Parrot. The Quakers link their nests together to form structures akin to “bird condominiums”. These nests can reach weights greater than 200 lbs.
Largest recorded nesting bird colony: 136 million Passenger Pigeon nesting in an area in Wisconsin covering 1,942 sq km (750 sq mi)
Isn’t it amazing how the Lord created each bird’s egg to help it survive and for it to do His command to:
And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:22 NKJV)