Gardening Fast Facts: Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are very tiny birds with long bills. They only weigh about a tenth of an ounce and measure about four inches long, but their acrobatic skills are unmatched. They can fly in every direction - up, down, sideways, and even upside down. They are among our fastest birds and can fly up to 60 miles per hour.

Hummingbirds sip the nectar from tubular flowers with their long tongues, which they draw in and out of a flower about 13 times per second. They enjoy all colorful flowers, but studies have shown that their favorite color is red. In fact, many red flowers have adapted themselves to attract hummers. Not only are the flowers tubular, but their sugar concentration is about 25 percent, which is what these tiny birds prefer. If you want to set up a hummingbird feeder to attract them, use the same concentration found in nature - one part sugar to four parts water.

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