1. They are marathon migration champions. These little three-inch buzzers can fly the nearly 3,900 miles from Alaska to Mexico in a season. Broken down to scale, that measures out to roughly 78,470,000 body lengths, which is the mathematical equivalent of raging badass.
2. They don’t take any @*$^#! Though merely thumb-sized, a rufous is fiercely territorial and will chase away much larger birds who try to get up in their grill. Even mammals are not safe. Chipmunks, beware.
3. Wings = Bonkers. Their wings frenzy between 52-62 beats per second. Our sorry human eyes register this only as a blur, our ears pick up the beating only as a loud buzz. Or hum, as it were. Also, they are the only group of birds who are able to fly backwards.
When in flight, hummingbirds have the fastest metabolism of any non-insect animal in all the world. Though tiny, their hearts beat ferociously within their breasts, at well over a thousand beats per minute. They hum like a race car’s engine. They hum like a bumble bee on steroids. They hum, like a psalm. And should one zoom into your home, a little rufous, careless or curious, and rise to batter the window glass, buzzing and buzzing, she will somehow actually make you feel the one who is small. And when you run outside to find a silver, dented ladder, you will not care how sturdy its steps are, not when you see this bird grow frantic, then tired. When she climbs the glass and falls back, again and again, raising thin clouds of dust from the high sill, rustling dead flies, it will take all of your concentration to remain patient. To wait for your moment. To turn your thoughts away from what if. And so you breathe. And watch. And wait. At last, when held in your palm, in a loose cage of fingers that could easily crush, a hummingbird has a way of making you feel like a giant, bumbling creature, with all the grace of an old walrus blundering across a rocky shore. When held in the cup of your hand, a small heart beating fiercely registers only as a tickle, a faint kiss. The physical weight no more than that of a larger bird’s feather. The cosmic weight, immeasurable.