Ruby-throated Hummingbird Named Glencoe's "Most Im-peck-able Bird"
The votes are in, folks, and it’s official: the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is (unofficially) Glencoe’s Most Im-Peck-Able Bird. Just as the United States has its bird symbol, the Bald Eagle, and Illinois has the Cardinal, Glencoe now has the Ruby-throated Hummingbird as its official mascot. Glencoe’s Most Im-Peck-Able Bird Contest has been part of a campaign by the Glencoe Sustainability Task Force to raise awareness about biodiversity in our environment and how you can support and cultivate biodiversity in your back yard. The Sustainability Task Force graciously thanks all 357 people who voted for their favorite birds, including 97 first graders from District 35.
The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is a very frequent visitor and can be seen throughout the Village during summertime, sipping nectar in the flowering plants in our gardens, going to our bird feeders with sugar water, looking for spiders under the eaves of our homes, or plucking insects from midair. The smallest bird in the world, at 3¾ inches in length, this charming creature weighs about 3 grams, or about .10 ounces, a little more than a dime!!!! It would take about 150 of them to make a pound! Found only in the Americas, hummingbirds are distinguished by their dazzling colors, diminutive size, and speedy flight, flapping their wings up to 50 times a second or more! (Try doing anything 50 times a second!). They can fly up to 30 miles per hour, and 60 mph in a dive! All of this for something a little heavier than a dime!
Hummingbirds have outstanding spatial memory and can remember feeder locations years later, making them great pollinators. They’re also big fans of sugar-water in your feeders. They are almost always seen “hovering”, very rarely sitting on a branch, even when they’re feeding. These amazing birds migrate south in the winter, traveling more than 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico during migration-non-stop, wintering in Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. Climate change will affect the range of these and most birds, reducing their habitat at the western end of their range, though not so much in Illinois.
We all can help protect these beautiful birds in three major ways:
- Add native flowering plants in our gardens - tubular flowers, like trumpet vine, are among their favorites\
- Reduce the use of pesticides and human-made chemicals of any kind (which helps all birds and animals); and
- Install, maintain, and fill a sugar-water bird feeder.
There will be more information about these fascinating tiny descendants of the dinosaur in future blog posts and around the Village. In the meantime, enjoy seeing them dart around town in your backyards, Glencoe beach, parks, open woods, and golf courses.