What do Hummingbirds Eat?
Feeding hummingbirds with nectar alone is a common myth.
Many don't realize that they need to eat insects to build muscle mass, and for protein, vitamins and minerals.
Hummingbirds eat nectar for energy only.
I'm not particularly fond of insects, especially the blood sucking kind.
Yet, I've learned to consider the consequences to the food chain of birds.
I no longer spray them away with insecticides.
This can diminish the food supply and sicken the birds.
A show to see (you might like to get your binoculars) is a hummingbird perching on a bare, open twig in wait for a swarm of flying insects. When the prey is spotted, the bird "hawks".
What you get is the best aerial acrobatics entertainment as it performs a series of twists, and twirls capturing in mid-air. What a sight and the admission is free!...........Learn more about Birdwatching Binoculars.
In order to catch insects, hummingbirds use other methods such as gleening.
Simply, they search new leaves at the end of branches for tiny moth caterpillars.
Also, they eat tree sap from holes drilled by sap suckers.
I was surprised to learn that these delicate birds "poached" food resources from other foragers, especially spiders.
That's life in the wild!
In my view, hummingbirds work hard enough to obtain food.
Remember, all of that hovering......just to get a decent meal.
Besides, some poaching can be risky business.
When these small birds poach from spiders, they sometimes get caught in the web and die.
Roughly a third of a hummingbirds diet is insects.
They eat mosquitoes (the blood sucking kind), spiders, gnats, fruit flies, and sometimes even small bees.
During a rain storm, hummingbirds eat small insects rather than nectar.
If you ever wondered, they do eat much more before migration starts.
Hummingbirds need to gain 30% - 40% of their body weight before migration.
They store their undigested food in a small pouch at the base of the throat called a "crop".
Even when they are perching, food is being moved from the crop to the stomach for digestion.
Do they ever get a moments rest?
I appreciate our winged friends even more by understanding their importance to our eco-system.
They eat the insects in our gardens, so spraying harmful insecticides would eliminate our opportunity of feeding hummingbirds with insects along with our feeders.
So now you know the answer to.......What do Hummingbirds Eat!
To help our friends along hang some hummingbird feeders and keep them full with this recipe for your own homemade hummingbird nectar.
So let's all learn to co-exist with our eco-system and enjoy the hummingbirds.