Hummingbirds are tiny birds that flap their iridescent-feathered wings at the incredibly rapid speed of about 80 flaps per second, producing the characteristic humming noise that announces their arrival. There are several species of hummingbirds around the world, many of which possess vibrant colors.
Because of the enormous amounts of energy that they use to fuel their rapidly moving bodies, hummingbirds require food on a frequent basis. The heart alone is in need of constant fuel to sustain its rate of about 1,260 beats per minute. The bird's diet consists mainly of nectar, pollen, tree sap and insects. A long tongue enables the creature to get its food on the go.
Hummingbirds fiercely guard their territories, both against invading hummingbirds and even other animals. They have been known to chase creatures as large as hawks away from their turf.
One of the most common species of hummingbirds in the United States, and the only species to reside in the eastern United States, is the ruby-throated hummingbird. This species receives its name from the ruby-colored patch found on the throats of the males. More species are found in the Southwest, including the rufous hummingbird, broad-billed hummingbird, Anna's hummingbird, black-chinned hummingbird and the Costa's hummingbird.