• Bird Academy
      Bird Academy
      How does the lifestyle of hummingbirds compare with other birds you know about? What things are similar and what are different?
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    • I've read that Rosy-Finches in Colorado exhibit altitudinal migration like some Hummingbirds.  It's interesting that some Hummingbirds, like some other birds fly north on a different route then south.  They are almost certainly not the only species to do it but I find it really cool that some Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly over the Gulf of Mexico while others fly around it.
    • Jen
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      I have often observed the male Ruby-throats doing their spectacular courtship dives to impress a female. But then the same males will aggressively chase the female away from the nearby feeder. So I imagine her saying to her suitors, "Hey buddy, if you want me to choose you, how about letting me eat?"
    • Pamela
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      In their migration they are similar to warblers.  The hummingbird that migrates north from the southern tip of South America during the non breeding season was interesting. The males do not help raise the chicks, unlike birds such as Northern Cardinals where the males are active participants.
    • Carol
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      Their migration is incredible! Plus I loved the photos of the various nests - fascinating where they build them. I only hope the babies in the nest on the lock and chain survived.
    • Paul
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      In general hummingbirds are more similar to other birds than not.  It seems one of the major differences is the way they use their wings to fly.
    • I knew that males do not participate in raising young. The degree of sexual dimorphism and "flashiness" of the males is often indicative of this parental arrangement, e.g. grouse, ducks, and birds of paradise males also display little/no participation in raising young. Often, when both parents participate, the degree of sexual dimorphism is less, sometimes to the point where both species look the same (monomorphism), e.g. Canada goose, crows, and sparrows. Note in these cases, the plumage is more muted or camouflaged, to protect the bird(s) sitting on the nest (like most female hummingbirds!). So, I was quite surprised to learn that there are SOME species of hummingbirds that do NOT display sexual dimorphism...and in some photos that were shown, the females were very flashy!! I am wondering what the purpose of that iridescent plumage would be for females - is there female competition? It certainly would not be beneficial as the sole nest incubator, vulnerable to predation.
    • I had heard before that hummingbirds used spiderwebs to build nests, but seeing the various photos made it really clear why. So smart to build an expandable and camouflageable nest!
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      The lifestyle of hummingbirds include courtships (dancing and vocalizations), nesting (expanding nests) and young.  Hummingbirds flight patterns are different as well as a speed which no other bird species has.  Ruth
    • Kathleen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I think its so cool that the nests expand in size as the chicks grow!
    • Liliana
      Participant
      Chirps: 5
      I was surprised to find that hummingbirds have way more similarities than differences, when compared with other birds in my backyard. One big difference I find is the way they feed of nectar.  I found that fascinating.
    • Nancy
      Participant
      Chirps: 9
      The aerodynamics of their flying is fascinating to me.  They are able to maneuver in ways that other birds can't.
    • Doug
      Participant
      Chirps: 8
      There don't seem to be any significant differences from other birds that various other birds also have with each other.  The many variations within Aves showcase just how well birds have evolved the variously take care of their various needs.
    • Karen
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      While they have to do all of the basic things that other birds do (find food, rest, communicate, find mates, build nests, raise young, and possibly migrate), the ways that hummingbirds manage to do this are fascinating and often show special adaptations based on their small size and high energy needs. The expanding spider's-silk nests in particular are delightful - a perfect means of protecting chicks that undergo tremendous growth from hatching to fledging.
    • Ruth
      Participant
      Chirps: 17
      The similarities between the hummingbirds and the other birds are the courtship, nesting and birthing their young.  I believe the locations for nesting are different between the hummingbirds and other birds, as well as the communicational sounds.  Hummingbirds have a softer sound.  What beautiful birds. Ruth
    • Sarah
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Much like the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is also well known for migrating south to Mexico for the winter months, and then back to the north for the breeding season. However, their behaviors during migration are very different. Relative to their weight, Canada Geese don't need to eat as often as a hummingbird does, and the distinctive "V" formation they fly in as groups during migration reduces wind resistance for group members further down the lines. Additionally, they regularly alternate positions in the "V" while flying, allowing the birds to rest at regular intervals and distribute the effort, as the one at the front of the "V" is working the hardest. All of this combined makes it so that Canada Geese can fly for very long periods of time without stopping, whereas hummingbirds must make frequent stops to feed.
    • John
      Participant
      Chirps: 3
      I was surprised to learn that the male hummingbirds do not participate at all in the nest building or raising of young. I compare them to the Gambel's Quail which live in my area where the males are very active in "family life".
    • Susan
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      Hummingbirds are similar to other birds in daily routine (eat, sleep, toilet), procreation requirements, and some migration. However, it seems the hummer needs to feed constantly or enter the state of Torpor at night to maintain energy levels. How are the Ruby-Throats able to cross the Gulf of Mexico during Fall Migration when they have to fly approximately 550 miles and fly about 10 hours of constant flying? It  seems incredible with only 4% stored fat. Or is there something else that happens that allow the tiny hummers to make the flight over the Gulf?
    • Sandy
      Participant
      Chirps: 7
      I have a question. If I feed the hummingbird sugar water, isn't that like feeding them McDonald's. IS there some nutrient powder to give them instead?
      • Carmela
        Participant
        Chirps: 6
        I have wondered that myself.
      • I was just thinking this as I saw them drinking from the feeder. How different is our sugar water, in nutrients, from what they would get from a more natural source?
    • Celestyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      rufous toilet jpg Albuquerque, New Mexico.  As a rain started, I watched and photographed a Rufous Hummingbird doing his "toilet:" preening, spreading its wings and tail.  Wonderful!   Celestyn
    • Claudia
      Participant
      Chirps: 2
      There is a difference with some birds that have the same mate along their life. According to the lesson my conclusion is  hummingbirds have different mates,
    • Carolyn
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      Hummingbirds do not walk around like other bids because their feet ,legs are made only of sitting on branches etc. They build nest in more unusual places. All hummingbirds do not migrate..ex.carribean .tropical etc. They sleep in a "stasis"?(term?) like state to conserve energy/heat .The males leave once eggs are laid,only female cares for young. Similar to other birds they bath in water,groom their feathers with their beaks, mate , nest,diet includes insects ,diverse.........
    • I feel like I have a new appreciation for Female hummingbirds and all that work they do. Sure the males are flashy and do sensational acrobatics but the female hummingbirds are hard working, attentive, artistic  & creative lil birds!  I've watched many species with both the male and female putting in equal work nest building & raising young ( Crow families are fascinating to watch!) I had no idea that the hummingbird males  did not chip in.
    • Marjorie
      Participant
      Chirps: 25
      I think it is really neat that hummingbirds wrap the outside of the nests with spider webs.  I wonder if any other birds build the nest to expand as the babies grow?  That was really interesting.  I enjoyed the pictures of the various nests and found the one on the lock to be a most interesting location. Many male birds help in nest building and feeding of the young so one difference is that hummingbird females do all the work.  In the past I have noticed that both male and female Robins gather the materials, but the female is the main nest builder. Both Robin parents help feed the young.  With cardinals the male seems to gather the materials while the female builds.  When she is nesting the male brings her food but he does not seem to help with the eggs.  They both help care for the babies once hatched.   As for Eastern bluebirds the male brings the nesting materials and sits on the nest box while she works on the nest.  (I guess to keep watch and protect the nest). The female builds the nest and sits on the eggs.  Both bluebird parents feed the young. The male hummingbird makes a showy display to attract a mate but then does not participate in any of these activities.
    • Katie
      Participant
      Chirps: 4
      It seems that many aspects of a hummingbird's life are similar to other species of birds - courtship, nest building, caring for young, migrating. After reading about how hummingbirds enter a state of torpor at night, I'm wondering how this works when the female is incubating eggs? Does her body trap heat close to the eggs to keep them warm while she sleeps?