Though they may be a bird watcher’s dream and liven up many a bird feeder, unfortunately, the hummingbird is also one of the harder of birds to spot.
So, it’s no surprise then that when people do witness them at their bird feeders, they go to great lengths to tailor their feeding stations to the hummingbird’s preference – thus keeping them coming back for more!
The most agile of birds, the hummingbird can trace its origins back to the nineteenth century. More recently, data places species of the hummingbird at well over 330 individual types.
Yet, though they may be the second largest family of bird types in the world, unfortunately, almost ten percent of hummingbirds are endangered.
With a recent analysis of the hummingbird species undertaken by Birdlife International, ornithologists have been able to discover where their greatest threats lie.
The Cause of the Hummingbirds Demise and Decline
Just as in the way various factors contribute to the dwindling bird population in general, so too can these factors be attributed to the hummingbird’s decline. The biggest causes here are a loss of habitat and the overall destruction of such areas.
Not surprisingly, the issue of potential climate change and its subsequent effects are also noted as major causes of their drop in numbers. This is primarily because it has a knock-on effect on their food supply as well as their usual migration routes.
Along with some of the most detrimental weather conditions ever experienced these past few years alone, a huge shift in seasonal plants blooming at a different time of the year than is normal has increased dramatically.
Therefore, this not only confuses hummingbirds while depriving them of their usual food source, but it also leads to other animals eating those same plants and flowers, meaning less food available for the hummingbird as a result.
Experts Are Working to Better Understand the Hummingbird
Though the number of endangered hummingbirds doesn’t seem so problematic just yet, work must be carried out now to ensure this figure doesn’t extend further.
Though some things, such as that of climate change, are, unfortunately, beyond a lot of our control, there are various scientific and conservational efforts taking place to plan and maintain good habitats for these magnificent birds.
As well as studying behavior, collaborating with others, and sharing findings, ornithologists are constantly improving their methods of obtaining crucial information on the hummingbird’s activities on all scales.
What’s more, by working in partnership with the general public, they are able to collect data from local areas through yard projects, thus understanding more about how hummingbirds select their feeders and what effect offering such feeders has on their population.
Bird Watchers Can Help Protect the Hummingbird
There are many ways we as bird watchers can work to protect the hummingbird. The simplest of these is to offer a safe place for them to feed in our yards! Unfortunately, you can’t keep hummingbirds as pets though!
By purchasing something as simple as a dedicated hummingbird feeder, alongside keeping it filled with their favorite food and located in the most beneficial of positions in the yard, we can all play a part in encouraging hummingbirds to visit our yards and feed in peace.
Fortunately, many American households are realizing the benefits of attracting hummingbirds to their yards and gardens. Therefore, a dramatic increase in the number of such hummingbird feeders, alongside the planting of hummingbird friendly flowers, has meant more and more of these stunning birds flock to yards than ever before.
Thus, if we can continue to look out for our feathered friends and dedicate just a little time and energy to creating the perfect environment for them, we get to play a part in shaping a little of the future of the hummingbird.