Birds of the Bay, Hummingbird

BIRDS OF THE BAY, Hummingbird - Trochilidae 
By Julianna Marinelli, Horticulturalist

As you probably have noticed, the golf course is home to many different type of birds. One of the most interesting is the Hummingbird. They are small bodied creatures with shiny feathers. Their wings are able to beat at speeds of over 80 times per second. This incredible speed produces a humming noise, hence their name. 

By flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern, they are able to hover in place while they obtain nectar from various plants with their unique mouth structure. Within their bill is a long tapered tongue which they use to lick up their food at 13 licks per second. They are also able to fly up, down, left, right, backwards and even upside down to access all those tasty flowers. Their diet is simple, consisting of flower nectar, tree sap, insects and pollen. Because of their fast paced lifestyle they are required to eat multiple times per day.

Their chests grow bright coloured feathers in an area called 'the gorget' which they choose to either hide or flash around for other birds to see. Hummingbirds also have a relatively large brain, this allows them to remember every flower they've visited. Although these birds may be small with some weighing less than a penny, hummingbirds can not only see and hear better than humans but are also able to see in ultraviolet light.

If you'd like to attract hummingbirds at home, try plants with bright colours and tubular flowers such as: Crocosmia, Lilium, Digitalis, Buddleia, Petunia, Delphinium, and Verbena to name a few. You can also purchase a hummingbird feeder and make a simple solution at home of 4 parts water and 1 part table sugar.

Make sure to keep an eye out this season for these amazing creatures in action.