Seventeen separate species of hummingbirds can be found in the United States. The smallest type of bird in North America, the hummingbird is an important pollinator of flowers. Hummingbirds flit from flower to flower, visiting as many as 1,500 in a single day, transferring any pollen that gets on their beaks from one flower to the next.
Most hummingbirds are between 2 and 4 inches long and have a wingspan of about 4 inches; their weight is typically less than a fifth of an ounce.
The hummingbird possesses the uncanny ability to fly straight ahead, come to a sudden stop in mid-air, then hover and go in any direction with ease.
The ruby-throated hummingbird has the widest range of any North American species, living from the East Coast all the way to the midsection of the country.
Most of the hummingbird species in North America spend the colder winter months in Mexico, Central America, and South America, migrating south when the temperatures begin to dip. The majority of hummingbirds are in no danger in terms of their populations decreasing.
The wings of a hummingbird beat between 53 and 55 times per second while they are in the process of feeding on the nectar from flowers and up to 200 times per second when undertaking difficult flying maneuvers.
The diet of the hummingbird consists of the nectar of the plants it visits and a wide variety of insects such as gnats, bees, mosquitoes, and fruit flies. They are attracted to certain species of tubular flowers, special feeders which contain sugar water, and are a favorite visitor to backyard gardens.