NATURE NOTES: Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

A group of ruby-throated hummingbirds swarms around a feeder.

Ruby-throated hummingbird migration is well underway, and we’ve been seeing them regularly at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. It’s time to get those feeders out! These birds are not only beautiful to look at, they also have some of the most unique physical and behavioral features in the bird kingdom.

For starters, ruby-throated hummingbirds are actually quite smart. They have a fantastic memory, remembering where each flower is and how to get there. A hummingbird’s brain is about 4.2 percent of their body weight, giving these birds the largest brain-to-body proportion of any bird.

Celeste Silling is Education and Outreach Manager at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory and Susan Heath, Ph.D., is an avian conservation biologist for the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, 299 Highway 332 W. in Lake Jackson. Contact the observatory at 979-480-0999 or visit

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