Hummingbirds typically beat their wings up to 80 times per second and are often busy during the spring foraging for insects, nesting and searching for a mate. As it might be hard for some to imagine, these high-speed birds do actually take time to rest by perching on a nearby twig or small tree branch. As an avid birder, these rare glimpses of a perched hummingbird can be the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.
Why Hummingbirds Perch
While rest is one reason hummingbirds take to a perch, there are also a number of other reasons you might be able to spot one sitting idle. These birds are active hunters when it comes to insects, foraging for much needed fuel for their high intensity daily lives. These birds will take up a perch to get a glimpse of bugs from above or spot some insects flying close by, but will also use a perch as a territory surveillance tool, giving them a “birds-eye” view of possible intruders and competing hummingbirds.
Preening is another reason many birds, not just hummingbirds will perch. Preening is a vital activity carried out by birds in which they groom and maintain their feathers, removing dust and dirt and also properly aligning their feathers.
Hummingbirds will also sun themselves while upon a perch by slightly raising their wings, fluffing their feathers and/or spreading their tails to expose as much skin as possible to the warm rays of the sun.
Adding a Hummingbird Swing
While there are most likely a variety of natural perches in your backyard, especially if you live in a rural setting, a hummingbird swing gives you another option for getting a close look at your hummingbirds. These swings are designed specifically to be attractive to hummingbirds, with many featuring an accent of red, like a hanging bead to attract more hummingbirds to your swing.
Given the territorial nature of hummingbirds, it is usually best to place these swings a few feet away from the nearest feeder. This will allow males, in particular, a great vantage point to watch over the feeder and prospective nesting sites.
This is a favourite this time of year, so we always try to keep them in stock. They are easy to install, a great attractant or accessory to your hummingbird feeders and can offer some great photo opportunities for those so inclined.