Last year, for the first time, I became fascinated with hummingbirds. Of course, they’ve been around every year of my life, but for some reason I started paying attention to them and have become a big fan of these tiny Aves.
These pugnacious and unsociable birds (except for a short time each year when they seek to mate) are amazing in so many ways. Below are just a few fun facts I’ve garnered about these little creatures with such a high-energy lifestyle:
- There are close to 340 different species of hummingbird found throughout the Americas.
- Each species of hummingbird makes a different humming sound, determined by the number of wing beats per second.
- On average, a hummingbird weighs less than a nickel.
- They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–90 times per second.
- They’re the only bird that can fly backward
- Average speeds exceed 33 MPH
- Their feet are so tiny they can’t walk on the ground and even find it awkward to shuffle along a branch.
- Hummingbirds need to eat twice their body weight in food every day and visit hundreds of flowers daily.
- Hummingbirds eat nectar for the most part, but may catch an insect now and then for a protein boost.
- Despite their tiny size, the ruby-throated hummingbird makes a remarkable annual migration of up to 3,000 miles, crossing over 500 miles of the Gulf of Mexico in a single trip on their way to Central America.
- Their average life span is 3 ½ years.
- Studies show hummingbirds remember every flower they’ve ever visited, including on migration routes. They can even recognize humans and which ones can be counted on to refill empty hummingbird feeders.
There are some great lessons to be learned from these delicate, yet resilient creatures that can help us on our path towards success.
Persistence: Imagine being a nickel with wings and you’ll understand how miraculous it is these tiny birds fly across the Gulf of Mexico each year to migrate. It’s often our own persistence that determines where we end up in life and how successful we become. Do you seek to overcome obstacles or let them hinder you from achieving your goals?
Memory: These tiny birds have a photographic mind that remembers every flower they’ve ever visited. Ever forget why you went into a room? Yeah, me too, which is why taking good notes and dumping that info in a database of some sort is important. You never know when the smallest detail might make or break a sale.
Versatility: Hummies can fly in every direction, including backward and upside down. Not bad for a bird and given the state of the world today, we too must be versatile and nimble to get ahead. The old saying that the only constant is change has never been truer and what’s hot today could very well be blasé tomorrow. Constantly evaluate your customers, your services and products to ensure you don’t become another Blockbuster Video or Borders Books.
Toughness: Close to 340 species survive and thrive in diverse and often brutal environments; from the Arizona desert to the 15,000-foot-plus snow-line of the Andes. To succeed in any endeavor also takes a certain amount of mental and sometimes physical toughness. It’s that little voice in your head that tells you to keep going, to push on even when you’re ready to quit. From marathoners to those in business, staying focused and keeping the goal in mind will help you stay on track and attain those lofty goals.
Despite their size, these amazing creatures imbue so many qualities we also can use to make our lives that much better. In the case of hummingbirds, size doesn’t matter because they certainly know how to use what God gave them.