“H” Hummingbirds by Jan Darling

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CURIOUS COLLECTIVES    

H HUMMINGBIRDS 

 

Of birds I’m the smallest in all of the world

And my eggs are the smallest as well

My fast-beating wings are always unfurled

They’re seldom allowed time to spell.

 

I fly forwards and backwards and sideways as well

Upside-down you can see me at work

I drink from the flowers but have no sense of smell

You wouldn’t call that such a perk.

 

I remember each bloom and where it did lurk

And soon as I drink I start countin’

To measure the time to return and not shirk

When that flower has refilled its fountain.

 

I build my nest high in forest or mountain

All velvety soft and elastic

It’s built of plant fibres, of twigs and of leaf

Bound with pure spidersilk – nothing plastic!

 

My nest stretches wide as I lay – fantastic!

They’re the tiniest eggs you can find

I mostly lay two, for more could be drastic

These two hungry beaks are born bald and blind.

 

Keeping two well-fed is a hard daily grind

A relentless search for good nectar

When I built my nest I was keeping in mind

The real need to find food in my sector.

 

As chicks grow big I become the collector

Using the tiny hairs on my tongue

From the reddest blossoms I steal the nectar

To nourish best healthy growth in my young.

 

As mother, my efforts by others, unsung,

My wings sing with constant vibration

Eighty times each second, that’s really high-strung –

Beautiful iridescent creation.

 

We’re tiny and bright and love admiration

Our pure beauty is known to disarm

No wonder then we discover causation:

Our Collective noun – a Hummingbird Charm.

 

A Charm of Hummingbirds, a wonderful scene

Fluttering, swift, by our eyes unseen

Such beauty born size of a tiny wee bean

Nature’s best gift’s in the Hummingbird seen.

 

Notes:

In how many directions can a Hummingbird fly?

What is the Hummingbird’s nest made of?

What is unique about the nest?

What colour flower attracts most attention from the Hummingbird?

What is the Collective noun for Hummingbirds?

How many times a second does the wing of the Hummingbird beat?

80 times a second is too fast for the human eye to see.

Has anyone noticed the rhyming pattern of each verse?

ABAB BCBC CDCD DEDE EFEF FGFG GHGH HIHI IJIJ 

With the final verse KKKK.

Has anyone counted the beats to each line of each verse?

11 9 11 10

Explain that rhyming poetry is often written to specific structures of rhymes and beats to the line.

Information not included in the verse:  

There are 300 different species of Hummingbirds. 

Hummingbirds have brilliant iridescent feathers, 

Being the smallest bird in the world it’s often mistaken for an insect.  

Each bird needs to drink its weight in nectar every day, the hairs at the end of the tongue help to drain all the nectar from each flower.  

The bird knows how long it will take for that nectar to be replaced in each blossom and returns the drink again.  

This also performs the task of pollination for the flowers.  

Hummingbirds seldom rest, their average heart rate is 1200 beats per minute – the average heart rate for a 12 year old person is 55 to 85 beats per minute!   The Hummingbird when resting takes 250 breaths per minute – the average 12 year old person takes between 18 and 30 breaths per minute.  

Hummingbird wings beat up to 80 times a second!!!  

Their legs are so tiny and weak that they can’t support the weight of the bird – that’s why they hover.

All this – and they can build their nests in trees up to 27 metres high.

Only a few make vocal sounds – mostly their sound is created by the vibration of their wings and tail feathers.

Hummingbirds, surprisingly are very aggressive towards each other when competing for food.

One thought on ““H” Hummingbirds by Jan Darling

  1. Jan, that was absolutely CHARMING! I never realised that hummingbirds had such a complex tongue – there is hardly any space for taste buds! They thrive in a very visual world, so they don’t mind having a diminished sense of taste and smell. Happy New Year!

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