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Keeping the Rainforest in Bloom: Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are among the rainforest’s busiest animals. Flying at the rate of 40 miles an hour, the hummingbird travels from plant to plant, drinking nectar. It needs to fly fast—the high speed of its wings helps to keep the hummingbird safe from predators.

When the hummingbird is taking nectar from plants, it holds its tiny body upright. It wings may look like they are going up and down. But in fact, the wings of the hummingbird beat in a figure-eight motion. This allows the bird to remain near the flower and drink for as long as it takes to get the nectar out of the plant.

All that energy can make a hummingbird very hungry–so hungry that they must eat every 10 to 15 minutes! And when a hummingbird wakes up in the morning, its body must be fed quickly as the bird is almost starved.

Think about this: if a human burned as much energy as a hummingbird during the course of a day, they would have to eat approximately 370 pounds of potatoes!

Check out the video below to learn more about hummingbirds, pollination and color:

Something to Think About: What did you learn about hummingbirds that you did not know before watching the video?

Want to Learn More? See this factsheet from the National Aquarium; and check out the Rainforest Alliance’s page on hummingbirds.

Rainforest Kids Science curriculum connection: Unit 4, Chapter 1, Lesson 2, G2-5

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