Yes, hummingbirds get tired, and these tiny creatures have a planned schedule that keeps them active throughout the day. They keep flapping their wings and make the humming sound while finishing the daily chores. After all, the entire fluttering and flying take up a lot of energy, and thus they feed a lot and rest as well.
How Do Hummingbirds Fly So Long?
Among all of the flying creatures, the hummingbird is the only species that knows the true ‘art-of-flying;’ even the best helicopters of the world want to imitate this tactic.
They can fly forward, backward, and even upside-down. Their wings flap in an 8 pattern, and it is their structure that makes their flying so different. They can flap wings at least 40 times a second and some smaller species, 80-90 times per second.
So, where do hummingbirds get all that energy to fly so long?
Hummingbirds get their energy from the nectar of flowers and whatever other things they consume. They hover over flowers and fill themselves up. They eat a lot, almost half of their body weight.
Yes, hummingbirds keep feeding on bugs and nectar every 10 to 15 minutes. Most of the flowers do not allow perching on them and eating in peace. That’s why hummingbirds hover over 1000-2000 flowers in a day and get 3-7 calories per flower easily.
It may sound like a hefty amount of food, but for hummingbirds, it’s completely natural as they have a very high metabolism.
Hummingbirds also have to fly thousands of miles as they migrate. To save up energy for this, they start eating a lot and gain weight. The sugary nectars fill them up so much that they can hardly stand up, and they get ready to cross the continents. They may look small, but these birds work very hard to migrate.
Do Hummingbirds Ever Stop To Rest?
Yes, they do. There are days, as cold winter days, when they get nothing much to eat. At that time, they need to rely on their life-saving strategy. They simply hide and go to sleep.
This is the time when their heartbeat, their metabolism, and energy consumption slow down. As soon as the dawn cracks, they fly away to find some sugary food to keep themselves alive.
Apart from that, they also perch down among the trees during the day. On the regular nights, they sleep as if in a stupor. You might mistake them for being dead, but that’s their way of resting after the day-long flights.
Air Resistance And Hummingbirds
Ever wondered what makes a hummingbird fly in this way? It’s their weight. With hollow bones, vertebrae and pelvis, they are lighter than air, as you can say.
While other birds use equal weights for supporting upward and downward movements of their wings, hummingbirds use only 25% of the weight for supporting the downward motion and the rest for upward motions.
They have strong shoulder joints, which help them flap their wings so fast. Undoubtedly, hummers are some of the most amazing creatures on the planet.
Do Hummingbirds Die If They Stop Flying?
This is one of the most common myths about hummingbirds, and it is associated with another myth that says that hummingbirds don’t have feet, so they die when they stop flying.
Well, hummingbirds do have feet, and they do sit down with their help. A hummingbird perches among the trees; it sleeps and mates, and thus, the myth that hummingbirds die if they stop flying is busted.
Yes, they spend a considerable amount of time in the air, but they are completely fine even when they are not flying.
How Much Sleep Does A Hummingbird Need?
Hummingbirds need the same sleep as all other birds. Every night they find shelter and fall into a deadly sleep. It is called Torpor. At this time, it is easy to mistake them as dead.
However, this is a hibernation sleep where their metabolism gets down to 1/15 of the normal; their heartbeat slows down to 50, they sleep upside down and may look like they are not breathing at all.
It is a short-term hypothermic sleep when their body readies itself up for the next day and the continuous flying.
They wake up when they feel like it and need approx. 20-60minutes to recover from their hibernation mode. As soon as they are up and feeling fresh, the hunt for the food starts.
Do Hummingbirds Mate In Flight?
Many people wonder if hummingbirds ever stop to mate or they do it in mid-air. It is normal like every other bird does it.
Yes, the male uses some impressive acrobatic moves to attract females but then, they mate like normal. It only takes a minute, and then the male and females fly away separately. The female finds a place, builds a nest, lays eggs, and takes care of her children till the time they can fly.