July 15, 2022


Apple Podcasts podcast player badge
Spotify podcast player badge
Google Podcasts podcast player badge
Castro podcast player badge
RSS Feed podcast player badge

This podcast episode we talk about the Hummingbird! Relax, unwind, and join me in the woodlands, where we learn all about this buzzing aerial acrobat.


To contact Stef Wolfe you can:


If you would like to learn more, the resources used in this episode are listed below:


Support the Patreon by clickinghere.Rock some awesome podcast-themed merch by clicking here.


You can also check out informative blog posts on relaxwithanimalfacts.com/blog.


See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.


hello everyone welcome back to relax with animal facts I am staff wolf and today I am going to be learning with you about our furry scaly or possibly even slimy friends and in today's case we are actually going to be learning of a feathery friend of ours because we are covering the %HESITATION so wonderful hummingbird this animal suggestion has officially surpassed all of the others in terms of request frequency so today's episode is of course a very special listener episode not to just dedicated to one of you but to many this episode is dedicated to Maria which is Andre's grandmother a livia Christine and her family Kathy Samantha Juliana and Lynn I hope all of you enjoy your episode and you can all rejoice that there are people all over the world listening right along with you that are just as eager to learn about the hummingbird if you want to request an animal on the show you can do so in one of three ways you can send a message to the Instagram relax with animal facts you can go to the website relax with animal facts dot com and click on the animal request tab and lastly you can always send me an email at relax with animal facts at G. mail dot com so if you want to learn about a the Q. leader animal or one that you find a very cool please send an email don't be shy I am always excited to open an email from you guys I'm just going to say it where I got my facts from and then we can jump right into the episode for this episode I got my facts from Britannica dot com humming bird central dot com the spruce dot com I also got some definitions from Merriam Webster dot com and lastly of course for the name I went to at him online dot com all of the resources that are in this episode all of the facts from the various articles are on those resources they will be in the show notes or the description of this episode as they always are and if you want to learn more not just about the humming bird a lot of those resources will be invaluable to you so if you wish to explore them please do and now I would like for all of you to notice maybe where you were carrying some tension it truly is different for every person for me it's always in the hands and in the head for you it might be in the arms it might be in the legs maybe you've been working really hard at training your carrier pigeon to request an animal that way and you've gotten a little bit of a headache over it but regardless of where you carry your specific attention I would like for all of you to try to relax right alongside me as we go into the woodlands where the hummingbird resides so what you were actually just listening to was the true humming of the hummingbird caused by their very very quick flapping of the wings and we're going to go more into that in just a second now my neighbors are doing a little bit of construction work so I hope it does not come into the background but if it does pretend as if it is somewhere in the distance in the woodlands I can't choose when my neighbors decide to do things unfortunately the hummingbird is comprised of over three hundred some articles say three hundred and twenty species and these hummingbirds are going to be small brightly colored birds of the family tropical a day they have amazing and beautiful colors and elaborate and very specialized feathers and this combination is what leads a naturalist by the name of John Gould from Britain to attribute to many hummingbirds these exotic names that we still use today like fairy hummingbird sapphire hummingbird topaz son Jim hummingbird their feathers their plumage is truly beautiful and the hummingbirds brilliant throat color for example is not actually caused by feather pigmentation but rather by something known as iridescence so here we have a bunch of pretty big words so let me just break them down your intestines refers to a lustrous rainbow like play of colour caused by different hold refraction of light waves what this is saying is that the hummingbird's throat color is not caused by the physical color of the feathers themselves but rather by this process of iridescence or refraction of light waves off of their specific arrangement of feathers and there's different factors in what kind of color you're going to get in the right miss of it things like a light to level moisture what angle you're actually looking at the hummingbird from and some other factors all of these are going to influence how great and colorful the throat of some of these hummingbirds will be and speaking of their feathers they have over nine hundred of them which might sound like a log but actually it is the fewest number of feathers of any bird species in the world so they get a gold medal knocked for a superfluous or excessive amount of feathers but rather they take the gold medal from a lack of feathers they do not need as many feathers because of course they are very small and we'll get into how small in just a moment but also fewer feathers will help to keep them much more light weight when they're flying and buzzing around and they need to be lightweight roughly twenty five to thirty percent of a hummingbird's weight is actually in its pectoral muscles its chest so these little birds are actually sort of downsized body builders they have these broad chest muscles that they use for flying I wonder how much they could bench press if they were the same sizeable person I think they would be putting many of us to shame and an average hummingbird's heart rate is more than one thousand two hundred beats per minute now for you and me as human beings of course human beings will vary depending on age and different things like level of exercise and cardio vascular development but on average the human's heart rate is going to be between sixty to one hundred beats per minute so while the hummingbird's heart rate is beating away at one thousand two hundred beats we in contrast are walking with about eighty beats per minute on average that is about seventeen times faster than us and not only is the heart rate going to be faster but also other things are going to have to be faster as well one of those is how fast the briefs of course as of the heart beats oxygen is circulated through the body and heart rate is directly connected to breathing rate in different things like that and at rest a hummingbird will take an average of two hundred and fifty breaths per minute while they're breeding pace will increase of course when their in flight working out there pectoral muscles we will typically be breathing about sixteen times per minute on average of course that also changes when we're exercising but this massive contrast shows just how unique and cool the hummingbird is so while there are more than three hundred unique humming bird species in the whole world only seventeen species are going to regularly breed in the United States of America while some others may visit to the country about nine species we can see that not many of them are actually in the U. S. the rest of the hummingbirds are primarily tropical species and will not usually migrate very far they're going to be found in central and South America as well as throughout a lot of the carribean so here in North America we are missing out on more than three hundred unique and exotic hummingbird species that are humming away in other parts of the world so we mentioned that they were small and they are all of them are relatively small but some are even minute to put this in a little bit of a perspective the giant hummingbird the giant one of western South America is only about twenty centimeters or about eight inches long with a body weight of about twenty grams that's about point seven ounces and that will be less than even most sparrows on the other side we have the smallest species which is known as the bee hummingbird this hummingbird is in Cuba and the Isle of pines and will measure slightly more than five point five centimeters so about seventy five percent smaller than the giant hummingbird these measurements of do you include the bill and the tail and that is why this is as long as it is their bill and their tail is going to make up about half of this size they will weigh about two grams ten times lighter than the giant hummingbird and this species is the smallest living bird and will rank with the Higbee shrew as the smallest of warm blooded vertebrates it's and there is that word again vertebrates we covered in the last praying mantis episode what was an invertebrate so if you remember the definition of an invertebrate the vertebrate might be a little bit easier to understand a vertebrate is an animal that has a backbone to the praying mantis is an invertebrate because it does not have one while the hummingbird is a vertebrate because it does but despite this very small size of the hummingbird they are indeed one of the most aggressive bird species there is they will very regularly planned their assaults on Jay's hawks crows that will just happen to infringe on their territory anyone who has a backyard bird feeder might find that if there's a humming bird and the big dominant hummingbird they will guard these feeders and make sure to chase intruders away they are not big on sharing so if it has not already been spoiled we are going to spoil its now in terms of the name of the hummingbird we are going to be going a little bit more in depth with the word humming and home in the etymology section but this is very hard to avoid the beat of their wings is so rapid as we saw up to fifty five times in a single second that a sort of humming sound is going to be produced and the wings will appear very alert they are the only bird species that can hover in mid air and also fly backwards or even upside down the ability to sort of suspended themselves in mid there is going to really help the hummingbird in getting the nectar of plants and flowers it can stay itself and to use its beak like a straw and a draw in all of that wonderful nectar that is looking for so while they have these tremendous capabilities in the air a hummingbird can't actually walk or hop like many other bird species what they can do is shuffle with its very very short legs which are not very strong so we see that while it is very incredible in the air there is a sort of take away on the ground and this all plays into their anatomical structure the hummingbird has this very compact incredibly muscular body and these pretty long and very delayed like wings that unlike other wings of other birds the hummingbird's wings are going to connect to the body only at the shoulder joint one of the advantages of this sort of organic architecture is that it will help this bird to fly not only forward but also straight up and down sideways backwards into hover as it does so we learned of all of the amazing ways in which it can fly and the reason it can do that is because of how the waiting is attached to the body only at the shoulder joint one interesting fact is that the hummingbird actually does not have any sense of smell they make up for it in the realm of vision they do have very adept and keen eye sight but when they are going face S. first into a feasting on a flower they are not actually smelling the flowers as we might when we walked through a park or something like that and the reason we see them going face first right into flowers is because their diet consists of primarily nectar from those flowers and they're seeing going most often to red flowers so some researchers have concluded that red is their favorite color so if red is your favorite color you share that with the hummingbird but apart from nectar they will also eat small insects like aphids and spiders and sometimes even call in and sat and you may be asking yourself is there a difference between nectar and pollen and the answer is yes nectar is a sweet substance that is going to be produced by some plants and flowers of course are included this nectar this sweet substance is made to attract pollinators double include bees butterflies and hummingbirds pollinators are those that come to these plans and by consequence of say taking nectar from them or something else that the plant or flower is offering they will take with them genetic material from the plant and they will by proxy of getting their food they will also be reproducing more of the flower possibly after their whole digestive process has finished or maybe it will spread a different way on to the ground pollinators and plants have this symbiotic relationship of helping one another the humming bird gets to eat the sweet nectar and the flower our gets to expand itself and then Poland is this fine powder of particles that are microscopic that can fertilize of flour to produce a seed or seeds in the flowers ovary so this pollen is going to be produced by these plants and these pollinators including the hummingbird will transfer it to another flower just by going and feeding on another one it is a wonderful balance that happens but they will be eating this nectar insects and sometimes Poland or sap in small meals and many small meals throughout the day there will be consuming up to twelve times their own body weight in nectar each day the need to those calories to fuel those pictorial muscles in terms of a hummingbird's lifespan in the wild they have to deal with things like hail rain snakes wind just the cold weather squirrels cats dogs so they do have a good amount of natural predators so because of this and other man made factors most deaths in the humming bird is going to occur in the first year of life but the record age of one banded ruby throated hummingbird is about six years and eleven months so they do have a capacity to live longer than one year but the obstacles that they face make that a bit of a challenge so for those of you that know much about bird species as a whole or as a general rule birds are typically going to pair up one with another but hummingbirds don't actually do this what happens is the man male and the female will go their own way after the mating process is complete the mail will immediately move on to other females and the female is responsible for building the nest incubating the eggs and raising the young birds so definitely not common many bird species will have the male and the female paired up for life as they raise their young but in the case of the hummingbird they do it another way so the nest that the female is going to be working on is basically a tiny copy of these collected plant fibers those will be joined with and in conjunction with spider webs lichens and moss that is attached to a branch they might use a large leaf of forked twig here in there or maybe even a rock ledge in one species of hummingbird known as the hermit the nest is hung by a narrow stock from the underside of the ledge or sometimes from the roof of the cave or culvert the nest cop will be set on one side of a mass of mud and plant material it is going to be held level by a careful waiting that is waiting as in W. E. I. G. H. T. I. N. G. of the other side of the mass so hummingbirds are not just fantastic flyers they're well schooled in the field of classical mechanics and physics as well as a little bit of architecture to make these ornate and very well balanced nests at least the hermit hummingbird does and now we're going to move on to the final fact of the hummingbird which is the name where does it come from so we know the name humming bird is a tribute to them because of the sound of the humming made by the very rapid slapping of their blade like wings but we're going to dig a little bit deeper into the words humming and home the word humming which is an adjective meaning that it describes a noun so you could say Steph wolf is a humming podcast host but this adjective humming is seen first in the fifteen seventies describing something that harms and it was taken from the verb home which meant brisk vigorous energetic from the sixteen eighties the hummingbird was first name the humming bird as early as the sixteen thirties so we can see how the humming bird can be seen as a brisk vigorous and energetic after all with the speed with which it flaps its wings and how fast it reads and how fast it's hard to beats they truly are vigorous and energetic and also incredibly brisk creatures and that word home in the verb form is first seen in the fourteenth century Holman which was first described as making a murmuring sound to cover embarrassment but then later Holman was changed to Harmon and it took on the new meaning of a buzz word to drone in the early fifteenth century so that buzzing droning sound that humming sounds that we attribute to the hummingbird we can see it's very clearly defined origins and how apt it is as a distinction for our very beautifully colored friend now we are going to move on to the portion of this show in which I read a review from one of you special listeners out of there that very kindly wrote a review in this case it is almost always on apple podcasts in this episode we are going to be reading a review from a user named C. L. D. W. nine eight seven six and C. O. B. is writing all the way from the United States of America with the do you have some of these wonderful creatures that we learned about today and C. L. B. writes this podcast helps me fall asleep so much there are so many animals that we can listen to I have learned so much from you for night time your soft slow voice is soothing thanks so much thank you for the kind words C. L. B. I'm so happy that the show can help you as it does in terms of your nightly routine it is so amazing that the podcast is used in as many different ways as it is for an example one of the families that requested the humming bird today loves to listen to the podcast on these long road trips and things like that and some like you C. O. B. use it to fall asleep I have yet to be informed of anybody listening to the podcast as they are working out that would truly be something if you want to leave a review like C. L. B. did you are very much encouraged to do so it is one of the single most impactful ways to give back to the show and to help it grow so any of you that do in the future any of you that have already left a review it means the world but just know as I always say that you keeping me could come company as we go in this case into the woodlands is gift enough anything apart from that is all extra and comes from your generosity again if you want to learn about an animal that you find super cool make sure to reach out to the show by sending a message to relax with animal facts on Instagram going to the website relax with animal facts dot com and going to the animal request tab or you can always send an email directly to me by emailing relax with animal facts at the G. mail dot com I can see now why this episode the humming bird was requested so fervently what a truly fascinating creature and one of the most unique of the bird species that I have seen or learned about and certainly one of the coolest of the birds that we have covered on the show thank you all for your suggestions thank you all for listening I hope you have enjoyed this podcast episode and I hope that you will all join me on the next podcast episode with the next animal take care