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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

About Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Minute, needle-billed bird with small head, thin neck, pointed wings typical of hummingbirds, and spiky tail. Plumage mainly indescent green with whitish underparts; male has red throat. Black eyes and bill.

These beautiful birds breed from spring through summer. They build a cup nest of bud scales, lichen and spider silk, lined with plant down, on a near-horizontal branch of tree in deciduous or mixed woodland. They have 2 white eggs that are incubated by the female.

The little Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is one of the few hummingbirds to breed outside the warm tropics and subtropics of South and Central America. It will nest as far north as New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The only problem here is getting enough nectar to eat when it arrives in spring. It makes up the shortfall with sugary tree sap, which it finds by searching the trees for leading holes drilled by the yellow-bellied sapsucker – a type of a woodpecker.

It eats a lot of insects, which it captures in the air. But like all hummingbirds, its main food is nectar, which it usually gathers during short aerial chases. The nectar is usually gathered from red and orange flowers such as columbine, trumpet creeper, bee-balm, and jewelweed. It finds plenty to eat in the summer and plenty to feed its young, but in the fall it is forced to migrate south to central America. It may travel up to 3500 miles (5600km).