Tag Archives: Hummingbird

Purple Sunbird: Beauty in Small Package

When winter gives way to spring season, the dormant nature wakes up. Every plant and tree begin to bear new leaves. There is a riot of flowers and many of the birds come back to gorge on flower nectar and other insects which also visit the flowers and plants.

If you happen to be in some garden and near flowering bushes, you will hear calls of a bird but will have trouble to locate the bird itself. This bird is very small in size. It is due to its peculiar sounds it makes and its purple colour, you can locate it. In fact the purple colour is of males. It is even more difficult to pinpoint the females which are entirely different in colour. The bird is only 10 to 12 centimetres long. It has a long curved beak. The color looks different from different angles. Depending on the amount of light reflected because color is due to iridescence. Most of the times, it looks black.

Female sunbird is of olive color. The female and male are so different in appearance that you will think them as two different birds.

If it is not possible to get the nectar directly, they puncture the sepal near the nectar to reach the nectar. Although they predominantly survive on nectar of flowers, they can also eat insects particularly when the breeding season is on and requirements of food high.

Although they resemble hummingbirds but they reach for nectar after perching themselves unlike hummingbirds.

The bird is very agile and darts here and there from one flowery bush to another. Hence it is very difficult to take good photos with ordinary camera.

 

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Sitting on a branch

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Piercing the pod for food

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Female Sunbird

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Female sunbird sitting on a wire

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With an insect in its mouth

 

Hummingbirds: The extraordinary birds

Hummingbirds are most beautiful birds endowed with dazzling colors and hues. But these birds seem to be consigned to the extreme life because at the end of the day, they are so exhausted that it is not sure whether or not they will live to see the another day. Their humming near the flowers in which they insert their specialized beaks to suck the nectar while steadying themselves by constantly flapping their wings, seems like a fluid motion poetry. It is sight to behold. They can fly forward and backward, up and down manoeuvrings come as easily to them.

So they are not the ordinary birds but take the definition of extraordinary to a whole new level. They are the smallest warm-blooded creatures on the planet, but they are also among the fastest. They measure on the average 4-5 centimeters. They can  With wings that beat up to 200 times every second, they are among nature’s most accomplished athletes, the only birds able to hover, fly backwards, and even upside down.

Hummingbird metabolisms are set in permanent overdrive, requiring them to consume more than half their body weight in nectar every day. Some researchers say that nectar consumption for providing energy to fuel the furious activity during the day time, may be equal to their own weights. Since nectar provides them only sugars for energy, they have to supplement it with insects for getting proteins and other nutrients.

To survive the night, they fluff up their feathers and adjust their body thermostats, and reduce their body temperatures by half and reduce their heart rate from 600 beats per minute to a mere 36 to save the energy for survival  and begin their struggle for life next morning.

Due to their small size and dizzying speeds, human beings know only the crude facets of their sizes. PBS has sponsored a study to peer closely into their lives. By using state of the art technology and high definiton cameras, they have been able to delve deep into the private lives of hummingbirds. With  cameras able to capture over 500 images a second, the hummingbirds’ magical world can finally be seen and appreciated. Amazing footage shows these little powerhouses are far more than delicate nectar gatherers — they are also deadly predators. And watch as the birds display their elaborate mating rituals, showing off with nose dives that subject them to over ten G’s of force — enough to cause an experienced fighter pilot to black out!

These tiny marvels dazzle and delight bird watchers all over the world, and NATURE reveals their stunning abilities as they have never been seen before. The whole story is available at the PBS website page. Please go through and if you can watch the video you are lucky because video is blocked in our region, God knows for whatever reasons.