The Life Story Of A Hummingbird – Wildlife Documentary

The Life Story Of A Hummingbird – Wildlife Documentary

this motion picture is unusual because
the incredibly tiny hummingbird although unafraid of ladders lights and
cameras is difficult to photograph its movements are often Swift and sudden the hummingbird is the smallest of all
birds it averages four inches in length how much do they weigh it may take
fifteen fully grown hummingbirds to weigh one ounce and this mature female
barely counterbalances a nickel by means of high-speed photography you can now
see the hummingbirds wings in slow motion the wings change pitch at the
shoulders to provide lift at each stroke much like the hands of a swimmer
this unique figure-eight movement enables the hummingbird to remain
suspended or to fly backward as well as forward this maneuverability enables it
to feed in flight from nearly any position the hummingbird is the only
bird which can fly in any direction although its wings appear to be moving
slowly they are beating more than 60 times each second many hummingbirds are beautifully
colored especially on the throat and head colors are always more brilliant in
the male bird this color is caused by iridescent the feathers contain no color
pigments they’re not pigmented like this fruit but reflect colored light like a
prism or the facets of a jewel therefore movement contributes to the
illusion of color and the colors seemed to wink on and off and even change hue
as the bird turns its head from side to side its tongue is long and sticky and
perfectly adapted for extracting pollen and nectar and tiny insects from flowers
a hummingbird feeds as often as 50 times a day and investigates everything in its
search for food since its attracted by bright colors it can be lured to your
hand by colored water and will drink if the water is sweetened with sugar
why does a small bird eat so much humming birds live in nearly every part
of North and South America this is a female clip Deanna from the Pacific
coast of California it is more often called Ana’s hummingbird and this is the
male colep Deanna one of the few hummingbirds which sing he courts the
female like this courtship continues with an
extraordinary display by the male while the hen waits the cock flies skyward she
watches from the ground the cock flies higher and higher until
he’s almost out of sight then he dives what the female here’s is the sound made
by the cocks outer tail feathers listen carefully as he dives again during such
a dive the cock may reach a speed of 60 miles an hour on his return to the ground the cock
pursues the female until she accepts him as her mate the nesting season for Ana’s
hummingbird begins in December and lasts through August normally the ANA builds
several nests each season in a single day she makes more than a
hundred and fifty trips for nest-building material she builds her
nest with greater care than many birds fitting each bit of material into place
and shaping it with her body twigs and grass feathers and spider webs and
pieces of lichen are all skilfully woven together like this then she lines the
nest with the softest material she can find in this case the female uses cotton
from a clothesline rope and packs the lining layer on layer with her feet and
body the task of fitting and lining requires
hours of patient effort before she is finished the entire project takes almost
a week the result is a soft warm nest about the size of a walnut shell or just
spacious enough for a bumblebee the hen has now been nesting a week on the
seventh day she leaves the nest and the first egg for most of the day she guards
the egg she feeds briefly but at dusk returns to the nest to protect her egg
from the cold she covers it each night for the next two nights in the morning
of the third day she lays a second egg normally two eggs are all she will lay
in a single nesting the incredibly small scale of a hummingbird’s world is
revealed by this small beam inside each egg is a chick embryo with a normal appetite for about 50
meals a day the females incessant need for food
forces her to leave the eggs exposed frequently but only for short periods of
time she feeds during the daylight hours when the eggs will maintain a safe
temperature each time she returns to the nest she brings new material for repair instinctively she keeps the nest strong
and warm for a bird so small a storm means danger a cold feeding rain is a
hazard which could destroy her eggs incubation can last from 12 to 18 days
incubation is the time between the laying and the hatching of the egg why
does the time required for incubation differ with each egg her first egg is
ready to hatch on the fifteenth day and the first chick hatches while she
hovers over the nest she does not feed the chicken when the chick is free of
its shell she covers the nest and incubates her second egg not until two
hours later does she feed her hungry chick as with most newly hatched
nestlings the chick receives predigested food in this way she nurses her nestling
until its digestion can accommodate a normal diet at this critical time she
must not neglect to her second egg on the 16th day of incubation the second
egg hatches now she has two ravenous appetites to
satisfy as before she watches the chick during the hatching she does not assist
she makes sure it is safely clear of the shell then turns all her attention to
the feeding of her young now that her chicks are hatched she has
neither time nor energy for a careful housekeeping so she clears the nest of
shells with her wings the nestlings are helpless their eyes are closed and in
the first days after hatching they require countless feedings their diet
continues to be predigested their hunger perpetual they also demand the warmth of
her body after a week the nestlings have enough feathers to protect them from the
cold and their eyes are open two weeks after hatching they crowd the nest this
is their progress in just 14 days their beaks grow longer and by the time they
can fly they will be able to feed from flowers covering the nestlings is now
difficult since she can find no room for herself she leaves the nest for the
first time since hatching the chicks are alone in the nest at night while the hen
takes an undisturbed rest her feathers fluffed against the cold to the chicks rain is strange and
uncomfortable but the hen no longer gives them protection 17 days after
hatching the chicks back is covered with iridescent feathers thus far they’ve
been totally dependent on their mother now the fledglings begin to exercise
their well feathered wings unlike most birds they practice flying
before they leave the nest the mother waits to get the fledglings to fly she first
feeds them then she leaves them while they’re still
hungry she flies above them she uses food to tempt the check higher per second fledgling lags but hunger is
a strong incentive and the need for food is continuous you have seen the
lifecycle of the hummingbird smallest of all birds next spring when the chicks
are old enough to mate the life story will begin again

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