The hummingbird is the smallest extant bird species. They create a humming sound as they are hovering in midair as they beat their wings, depending on their species, from 12 beats per second to as many as 100 beats per second. Their heart rates can reach up to 1260 beats per minute. Their kidneys also work at an extremely high rate to remove substances from the blood. It slows down along with the heart when the hummingbird goes into its resting or hibernation state. The sounds they make resemble that of bees or other insects. They are in a constant state of motion, until it is time for them to sleep or when food is in short supply at which times, their bodies go into a form of hibernation known as torpor, lowering their metabolic rate to about 1/15th of its normal rate. During the night, hours, the hummingbird has a significant drop in their body slowing down their heart and breathing helping them to conserve their energy until morning when warming of the day arrives, and their bodies return to normal. They are able to fly up to thirty four miles per hour and are able to fly backwards which no other bird has the ability to do.
Most hummingbirds have a long straight bill to drink the sweet nectar in certain flowers. They are very selective in the flowers they feed on, if it has less than ten percent sugar content, they will reject that plant searching for those with higher sugar content. In order to supplement their needs for protein, vitamins and minerals, they eat insects and spiders. A few hummingbirds have a short, sharp bill or an upturned tip some even have a barracuda-like spiked bill each has adapted to feeding on flowers in their area. Hummingbirds have the ability to keep their bills open slightly so they can place their tongues into the flowers center drawing the nectar into their mouths. They eat up to twelve times the body weight daily in nectar. Most of their days are spent perched in a tree digesting their meals. They eat several small meals daily, which helps them conserve energy.
An interesting fact about hummingbirds is their way of shedding water from their bodies. They shake their heads and bodies similar to the way a dog shakes to shed water. If a hummingbird discovers a feeder, it will become very territorial and will fight other hummingbirds claiming total control of that food source for them. They are attracted to the color red but it is not necessary. Sugar water made from white granulated sugar with a ratio of one cup of sugar added to four cups of water that has been boiled and cooled is recommended. Boiling helps keep bacteria and yeast from growing in the mixture. Never use brown sugar in feeders, brown sugar contains iron, which can be deadly to the hummingbird. Honey has microorganisms growing in it and is not recommended for hummingbird feeders. It is best to stick with the pure granulated white sugar.