Illustrator Christina Mattison Ebert shares depictions and information on coastal birds
There’s good reason to be fascinated with — and impressed by — this tiny powerhouse of a bird. Despite its dainty appearance, the ruby-throated hummingbird maintains some hefty habits, including non-stop migrations across the Gulf of Mexico. The birds also boast unique anatomical adaptations, such as joints that allow 180-degree wing rotation. Hummingbirds can therefore fly forward and backward as well as being able to hover, a skill birdwatchers witness when these amazing creatures visit feeders for much-needed doses of sugar water. Is there anything the mighty hummingbird can’t do? Because of their short legs, hummingbirds cannot walk or hop like their longer-legged friends.
Fun fact: Hummingbirds’ wings beat 53 times a second and their heart rates reach 1,200 beats a minute. As a result, their muscular systems consume oxygen at a rate about 10 times higher than those of elite athletes.