Hummingbird Myths Debunked/Busted

Hummingbird Myths Debunked/Busted

Hummingbirds are everywhere, which is why there are many myths people believe about them. However, they are far from the truth and do not add to your knowledge of hummingbirds. If you love these birds and you want to know more about them, you have come to the right place.

We have debunked the most popular hummingbird myths for you to understand these beautiful birds better.

Myth 1: Hummingbirds Use Their Beaks As A Straw To Drink Nectar

Hummingbirds Use Their Beaks As A Straw To Drink Nectar

This is perhaps the most common myth you will find about hummingbirds. However, hummingbirds use their W-shape tongues to help them lap up nectar. They can do this at least thirteen times in a second.

That is because there are tiny hairs on the hummingbirds' tongue that helps them get access to the nectar and absorb it from flowers. Hummingbirds have a long and narrow tongue, and it is two times their beak's length. So, they use their tongue instead of the beak as it is easier.

Myth 2: Hummingbirds Need To Migrate For Survival

Hummingbirds Need To Migrate For Survival

While some hummingbirds do migrate for survival, the same is not true for all species. For example, some of the North American species have to migrate to habitats where there are active insects and blooming flowers. However, many stay in the same place or migrate for reasons other than survival.

The Anna hummingbird spends the winter on the Pacific Coast, and the Rufous hummingbird nests far north, such as Alaska. So, the migration and its reason depend on the species. Because of this, not all migrate to survive.

Myth 3: Hummingbirds Only Like Feeding On Red Flowers

Hummingbirds Only Like Feeding On Red Flowers

Warm shades are brighter for the hummingbirds because of their visual acuity, but it doesn't mean they only like feeding on red flowers. That is because they will feed on flowers of any color as long as it contains nectar. Because of this, hummingbirds can feed on many flowers, such as yellow, pale blue, purple, and more.

Of course, you will see many hummingbirds on red flowers because it catches their eye more instantly than any other color. So, hummingbirds only liking red flowers is a myth.

Myth 4: Hummingbirds Only Drink Nectar, And They Don’t Eat Insects

Hummingbirds Only Drink Nectar, And They Don’t Eat Insects

Many people think that hummingbirds only like drinking nectar from flowers and feeders, and they don't like eating insects. However, that couldn't be further from the truth as hummingbirds consume between 8,000 to 10,000 calories each day, and they need this for survival. The nectar that they drink is digested and excreted within twenty minutes, which is why they feed so often.

On the other hand, a hummingbird's diet includes nectar, spiders, small bugs, flies, ants, and much more. However, hummingbirds love to eat baby spiders as their main protein source. The birds use their lower beak to catch insects in no time, even when they are in mid-flight.

Myth 5: Hummingbirds Mate For Life

Hummingbirds Mate For Life

Many people don't know that hummingbirds don't even mate for a minute, let alone a lifetime. That is because the male impresses the female hummingbird to earn a few seconds of mating so he can fertilize her eggs. After that, he sets on to find another female hummingbird.

With hummingbirds, all the dads are deadbeats, and the mothers are single parents raising the family. The purpose of the male is only to fertilize the egg of the female, after which he is never to be found again by the same hummingbird.

Myth 6: Hummingbirds Migrate On The Backs Of Bigger Birds

Hummingbirds Migrate On The Backs Of Bigger Birds

One of the myths many people think is true is that hummingbirds use the backs of bigger birds for migration. However, that is not true because they don't need anyone to migrate. Most hummingbirds are solitary migrators, and you will not even see them migrating in a flock, let alone on the backs of bigger birds.

For example, the ruby-throated hummingbirds fatten up for migration by eating nonstop for a few days before they begin their migration. On the other hand, they also wait for favorable winds to help speed them up along their route. So, they may use these techniques for migration, but they never hitch a ride on another bird’s back.

Myth 7: We Must Remove The Feeders In Fall To Encourage Hummingbirds To Migrate

We Must Remove The Feeders In Fall To Encourage Hummingbirds To Migrate

The only reason hummingbirds migrate is when their instinct lets them know it is time to move onto another place. When they receive this instinct, nothing will keep them in one place as they will begin their migration journey. That is why you can keep your feeders outside all year.

It will help the hummingbirds to stay and refuel during their journey. Most of the time, hummingbirds that hang near feeders in late fall are ones that are injured or sick. That is why you must keep the feeders out to ensure they recover.

Final Words

These are the top seven myths about the hummingbirds that we just debunked for you. We hope it helped you understand these tiny birds better. So, be sure never to take feeders out in late fall next time.

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