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Do Hummingbirds Hum?: Fascinating Answers to Questions About Hummingbirds

Popular Science

By: George C West and Carol A Butler

208 pages, 34 colour & 35 b/w photos & illus

Rutgers University Press

Paperback | Mar 2010 | #185529 | ISBN-13: 9780813547381
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £19.50 $25/€23 approx

About this book

Imagine a creature the size of your thumb, weighing less than a penny, but consuming half of its weight in food each day...

Hummingbirds may be the smallest birds in the world, but they have the biggest appetites. Their wings flutter on average fifty to eighty times each second as they visit hundreds of flowers over the course of a day to sip the sweet nectar that sustains them. Their hearts beat nearly twelve hundred times a minute and their rapid breathing allows these amazing birds to sustain their unique manner of flight. They can hover in the air for prolonged periods, fly backwards using forceful wings that swivel at the shoulder, and dive at nearly two hundred miles per hour. Native only to the Americas, some hummingbirds have been known to migrate from Mexico to Alaska in the course of a season. Watching a hummingbird at a backyard feeder, we only see its glittering iridescent plumage and its long, narrow beak; its rapidly moving wings are a blur to our eyes. These tiny, colorful birds have long fascinated birders, amateur naturalists, and gardeners. But, do they really hum?

In "Do Hummingbirds Hum?" George C. West, who has studied and banded over 13,500 hummingbirds in Arizona, and Carol A. Butler provide an overview of hummingbird biology for the general reader, and more detailed discussions of their morphology and behavior for those who want to fly beyond the basics. Enriched with beautiful and rare photography, including a section in vivid color, this engaging question and answer guide offers readers a wide range of information about these glorious pollinators as well as tips for attracting, photographing, and observing hummingbirds in the wild or in captivity.


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Biography

GEORGE C. WEST is a professor emeritus of zoophysiology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and a researcher in the physiology and ecology of birds. He has published more than one hundred scientific papers, provided hundreds of illustrations for others, and recently published the revised and updated A Birder's Guide to Alaska. CAROL A. BUTLER is the coauthor of Salt Marshes: A Natural and Unnatural History (Rutgers University Press), Do Butterflies Bite? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Butterflies and Moths, Do Bats Drink Blood? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bats, and Why Do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees.

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