Ruby-throated hummingbirds mainly get food from flowers and flowering trees. They feed while hovering, sticking their long tongues into the centers of flowers to draw out nectar. They are also fond of drinking sugar water from backyard hummingbird feeders and will prey on tiny insects when available.
They burn so much energy during their flight that they drink up to half of their body weight in sugar water and nectar each day. Learn how to make your own hummingbird nectar.
They are territorial and will defend their food sources against other hummingbirds.
During the breeding season, males perform a courtship display in front of females, flying side-to-side while making a "tik-tik" sound with their wings.
Nest-building and incubation are handled by females only; males take no part in caring for the young. Females build tiny cup-shape nests made of grasses and plant fibers, which are often camouflaged with lichens and dead leaves. They lay clutches of two white eggs, which are then incubated for 11-16 days before hatching occurs. The young birds fledge after about two to three weeks.
- Be a smart consumer. Choose products made with sustainable ingredients, such as Smithsonian certified Bird Friendly coffees, which support farmers striving to limit their impact on wildlife and habitat.
- Practice ecotourism by being an advocate for the environment when you’re on vacation. During your travels, support, visit or volunteer with organizations that protect wildlife. Shop smart too! Avoid buying products made from animals, which could support poaching and the illegal wildlife trade.
- Be a responsible cat owner, and keep cats indoors or under restraint when outside. Never release animals that have been kept as pets into the wild.
- Try fundraising for conservation organizations in new and fun ways. You could donate your birthday to conservation, host a bakesale to benefit wildlife or Adopt a Species!
- Plant native flowers in your garden to help feed resident and migrating pollinators. You'll make your lawn beautiful and help wildlife at the same time!
- Never release balloons. Animals often mistake them for food or become entangled in their strings. Looking for an alternative? Try blowing bubbles instead!