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That's the sound of a Lucifer Hummingbird - one of more than 300 species of hummingbird in the world. And while only two dozen or so of those species make it as far north as the United States, polls show that most Americans love hummingbirds - and that's no surprise. These colorful little birds are quite unusual. Did you know that they are the only bird in the world that can fly backwards? They weight in at less than a US nickel but they are fast and acrobatic. They need powerful wings because they beat up to 80 times per second. And hummingbirds have far more unique flight abilities than any other bird. Not only can they fly backwards - they are able to fly forward, sideways, and straight up. They can also hover extensively, much longer than short-term hovering birds like ospreys, kestrels, kingfishers, and a select few other species. Hummingbirds can even do aerobatics such as backward somersaults as they dart among flowers searching for nectar and insects.

There are plenty of remarkable things about hummingbirds. It's hard to imagine that a bird bird that is 3.1 inches long has the maneuverability and speed of a fighter jet - relative to its size. They do all that flying without many feathers. Hummingbirds typically have fewer feathers than any other bird.

Hummingbirds are always busy and when they do take just a moment to perch, they often sing to us.

Then they go back to work - looking for food. They even have busy tongues, they can move 13 times per second to take in nectar - and that is a good thing. Hummers can (and often need to) eat twice their weight in a day.

I'm so glad you stopped by to learn a few fun facts about hummingbirds.

I'd like to end this podcast with beautiful words from Maya Angelou - "A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." Thanks for listening, be sure to visit avianbeauty.com for more bird inspiration and information. I'm Scott Bourne. Happy birding.

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