Hummingbirds are a Buzzing!
Something new has been added to the garden spots around the bricked area near the Visitor Center at WPSP! Seven hummingbird feeders were donated by Jim and Deb Parrott from Wild Birds Unlimited (located in Willow Knolls Shopping Center) and have been strategically place in an effort to attract a larger population of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. It is hoped that by placing these feeding stations in and around our natural wildflower habitat, we will encourage more of these winged beauties to the Park and possibly be a host site for an Illinois Audubon Hummingbird (IAS) Festival in 2011.
This Festival is a family event where attendees would be allowed to watch as birds are trapped, banded and then released. The purpose of banding is to determine how far into Mexico or Central America the birds go for winter, where they stop during their travels, how long they live, and whether they come back to the same sites year after year. The bands are numbered so the birds can be traced and data is then coordinated with the United States Geological Survey. Participants may also "adopt" a bird at the Festival by making a donation of a certain amount to the IAS's land acquisition fund; this fund is earmarked for the protection of Illinois wildlife habitat. Donors will receive a signed certificate, be given the privilege of releasing their adopted bird and be notified if their bird is ever recaptured.
The new feeders at WPSP are being closely monitored by volunteers and staff to assure that the birds are offered a clean, fresh supply of sugar water, and sitings are being tracked.
Park visitors have already seen our first hummingbirds visiting our feeders in May, so come visit us soon and see how many you can spot!
Here are some strange but true Hummingbird Facts!
- Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are so light that you could mail 8 of them for the price of a 44 cent stamp.
- They can beat their wings 40-80 times per second & fly backwards & upside down!
- During the day their heart rate is 500-1260 beats per minute, at night it will drop to 50!
- Females build their nest & rear the young with no help from the male.
- Besides nectar from flowers & feeders, they also consume a variety of insects.
- Spider webbing & moss are commonly found in the construction of the nest.
- The eggs of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird are about the size of a Tic-Tac!