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The tiny rufous hummingbird, which is barely 9 cm. long, has a brain 7,000 times smaller than a human's, according to scientists.

Researchers have discovered that this tiny hummingbird, which each day feeds on hundreds of flowers containing just a fraction of a drop of nectar, has a mighty memory that can pinpoint the location of the flowers it has visited and when the nectar in each would be replenished.

Rufous hummingbird is barely 9 cm. long and weighs very little (less than a small coin), is considered the most feisty and nomadic of hummingbirds. It has the longest known bird migration proportional to its body size. It travels between its wintering grounds in the southern United States and Mexico to its breeding grounds in Western Canada and as far north as Alaska.

Information from The Globe and Mail newspaper.


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A team of Canadian, British and Scottish researchers monitored three male hummingbirds during their summer migration to the Rocky Mountain region in Alberta, Canada.

While hummingbirds are drawn to anything colorful to find food-bearing flowers, the birds in this study were first shown that they could feed from artificial flowers.
The researchers set up eight wooden stakes holding up different colors of cardboard flowers, each fitted with a small nozzle holding a sucrose solution.
Half of the flowers were refilled at 10 minute intervals, while the rest were refilled 20 minutes after they were drained.
The researchers found the birds returning to the flowers according to refill schedule, and not visiting flowers that they had already drained.
Even more remarkably, according to the study, the birds were able to update their memories in specific intervals as they visited each flower throughout the day.

Information from The Globe and Mail newspaper


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These little birds are incredible fliers. Thank you for this information.
I am very interested in nature.

Like all hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds can hover or fly in any direction swiftly and with ease, but the Rufous Hummer excels in its flying abilities even above other hummingbirds. They are feisty birds, constantly battling each other for possession of a feeder or flower patch. Their flying skill allows them to easily drive off Anna's Hummingbirds more than twice their size.


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Thanks for the information. It reminded me of something that happened several years ago. I was sitting on a friends porch talking to their daughter. I think Amanda was around 10 at the time. A hummingbird flew up in front of us and hovered there for quite some time. It was a truly magical moment to have this tiny creature just inches in front of our faces.
What a fascinating little bird.
The result of the experiment that the scietists did is quite amazing.

Photos © Dan True
Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
Often described as "feisty," the Rufous may have the ideal size-to-weight ratio among North American hummingbirds. This bird outflies all other species, and usually gets its way at feeders at the expense of slower, less-maneuverable hummers. The Rufous has the longest migration route of all US hummingbirds.

Physical Description
Average weight: male 3.22 g, female 3.41 g. Females are larger than males.

Adult male: Non-iridescent rufous crown, tail, and sides; back may be rufous, green , or some of each; bright orange-red gorget, white breast. Green-backed Rufous cannot be reliably separated from Allen's in the field without extensive experience and a good view of the spread tailfeathers through a scope.
Adult female: Green back and crown, white breast, streaked throat, rufous sides and base of tail feathers, white tips on outer tail feathers. Very similar to female Allen's and Broad-tailed.

Observed in every state and province except Hawaii, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec. There was even one very unusual report from extreme eastern Siberia! The Rufous is the most widely-distributed hummingbird in North America. Winters in Mexico and possibly Panama.

For maps showing population distribution and trends, see the National Biological Service's North American Breeding Bird Survey species account.


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From wikkipedia:

Hummingbirds have long lifespans for organisms with such rapid metabolisms. Though many die during their first year of life, especially in the vulnerable period between hatching and leaving the nest (fledging), those that survive may live a decade or more. Among the better-known North American species, the average lifespan is probably 3 to 5 years. By comparison, the smaller shrews, among the smallest of all mammals, seldom live more than 2 years.[25] The longest recorded lifespan in the wild is that of a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird that was banded (ringed) as an adult at least one year old, then recaptured 11 years later, making her at least 12 years old. Other longevity records for banded hummingbirds include an estimated minimum age of 10 years 1 month for a female Black-chinned similar in size to Broad-tailed, and at least 11 years 2 months for a much larger Buff-bellied Hummingbird.


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