Hummingbird fans will want to hang their feeders now if they haven’t already. The tiny little birds have started making their way back to our area after spending the winter in warmer climates.

I just saw my first report of a hummingbird sighting in Hannibal on Facebook. That’s a recent development that hasn’t even made it onto the hummingbird migration map yet. You can see from the map that the more southern states have had the pleasure of seeing hummingbirds for several weeks. They’ll start making their way in larger numbers to Illinois in the next couple weeks.

Hummingbirds are fascinating little things. They’re the only bird that can fly backward. A hummingbird egg is about the size of a coffee bean. They beat their wings up to 55 times PER SECOND! The males that are intent on mating can swan dive at up to 60 miles an hour. Their average weight is just a nickel. Isn’t that crazy? And yet, because of their rapid beating hearts and metabolism, they consume twice their weight in nectar each day.

Hummingbirds are naturally attracted to bright flowers, with reds and oranges being their particular favorites. If you have a hummingbird feeder, you’ll want to buy a red one, but don’t add red dye to your nectar. It can be harmful to the birds. The feeders take a significant degree of maintenance. They require regular cleaning and disinfecting. The sugar solution has to be changed often, depending on the temperature outside. Click here for all you need to know about feeding hummingbirds.

LOOK: Stunning animal photos from around the world

From grazing Tibetan antelope to migrating monarch butterflies, these 50 photos of wildlife around the world capture the staggering grace of the animal kingdom. The forthcoming gallery runs sequentially from air to land to water, and focuses on birds, land mammals, aquatic life, and insects as they work in pairs or groups, or sometimes all on their own.


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