15 Hummingbird Characteristics That Birders Love

Updated: Aug. 14, 2023

Hummingbirds are amazing creatures that captivate bird lovers. Readers share special stories and their favorite hummingbird characteristics.

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Courtesy John Luciano
Allen’s hummingbird

Hummingbirds Are Not Shy

“I wear a floral kimono on my deck on warm summer mornings. I’ve had hummingbirds come in close a few times. I love those morning visits but sorry, no nectar here!” says Birds & Blooms reader Caitlyn Suchy of Vestal, New York.

Check out the top 15 colorful hummingbird flowers to grow.

hummingbirds fighting
Courtesy Stacy Campa
Calliope and rufous hummingbirds

Tough Birds in Small Packages

“They’re small but mighty. They don’t stand for any nonsense from bigger birds,” says Carolyn Terlouw of Ajax, Ontario.

Are hummingbirds territorial at feeders and flowers?

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Courtesy Shawna Fitzsimmons

Fleeting Flying Beauty

“Hummingbirds are like beautiful dreams. I feel lucky to get another glimpse or two,” says Shawna Fitzsimmons of East Nassau, New York.

Can hummingbirds even fly backwards?

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Courtesy Steve Ricketts
Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird on black and blue salvia

Fast Beating Wings

“One of my favorite hummingbird characteristics is the ‘zoom zoom’ sound from the beating of their wings. I’ll hear it just above my head as I pull weeds in my flower bed. It’s just not summer without it!” says Katrina Hawn of Hesston, Pennsylvania.

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Courtesy Rebecca Overton
Ruby-throated hummingbird at hibiscus

Long Migration Journey

“My husband and I always have a contest for who will see the first hummingbird of the year. I love how something so small brings so much joy,” says Tracy McCullum of Joliet, Illinois.

Impress your birder friends with these jaw-dropping hummingbird facts.

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Courtesy Michael Mckenney
Female black-chinned hummingbird and a fledgling

Favorite Sign of Spring

“We get hummingbirds in our area when our weather FINALLY starts getting warm. I love watching these beautiful little treasures happily flitting from feeder to feeder. It just says, ‘Spring is here,'” says Dawn Craun of Woodland Park, Colorado.

Get expert picks for the best hummingbird feeders.

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Courtesy Leena Borkar
Female Anna‘s hummingbird

Cute and Curious Hummingbird Characteristics

“I adore hummingbirds’ curiosity. One minute I am alone working in the garden and suddenly a hummer just stops in midflight to watch me. How cool is that?” says Kathy Eppers of Aledo, Texas.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about feeding hummingbirds.

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Courtesy Leslie Scopes Anderson
Male Anna’s hummingbird

Shimmering Garden Stars

“What do I love about hummingbirds? They are brilliant jewels that adorn my garden! The Anna’s male (above) is a perfect match with the colors of my native red-flowering currant bush when it blooms in spring!” says Leslie Scopes Anderson of Arcata, California.

What makes hummingbird feathers so shimmery?

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Courtesy Emily Zamora
Male buff-bellied hummingbird

Prettier Than Flowers

“No matter how beautiful the flowers in my garden are any given year, the jewel colors of all three species of our hummingbirds outdo them,” says Clarice McKenney of Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

Admire the brilliant rainbow of hummingbird colors.

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Courtesy Darin Driessen
Female ruby-throated hummingbird

Hummingbird Chitter-Chatter

“I love the way hummingbirds swoop and make their little squeaks. They put on such a show for us as we sit on our front porch,” says Nancy Papendieck of Plymouth, Wisconsin.

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Courtesy Nancy MacDonald Uggla
Hummingbird drinking nectar from pentas flowers

Summertime Backyard Visitors

“Since I planted firebush along my backyard fence, ruby-throated hummingbirds fly through my yard during migration, from fall into spring. Lately, they have come closer, visiting the pentas thriving in the butterfly garden planted next to my screened porch. Though their visits are brief, my heart soars when I see one, a wonderful and unexpected surprise!” says Dorothy Kamm of Port Saint Lucie, Florida.

Don’t miss readers’ super cute hummingbird moments and stories.

rufous hummingbird
Courtesy Trish Nevan
Rufous hummingbird

Pollinators With Perseverance

“Every May, like clockwork, they arrive to our feeders and every year I’m as captivated as the first time they graced us with their presence. Watching them reminds me that some of life’s greatest blessings come in small packages. They travel an amazing distance to bring us joy, beauty, and a reminder to persevere against the odds,” says Tammy Cline of Oswego, Illinois.

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Courtesy Tina Burrows
Birders never tire of watching fascinating hummingbird characteristics

Funny Feathered Friends

“What do I love about hummingbirds? They’re funny! (At least mine are.) My hummingbirds are very entertaining. When I am riding on my golfcart around our property, they chatter at me when I get close to them or when I approach the feeders to clean and refill them. They dive, duck, and swerve around in the air closely when I am working in my flowerbeds, too. They make me smile. I love them,” says Mari Cornish of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A ruby-throated hummingbird visits a red canna flower.
Courtesy Andrea Garvin
A ruby-throated hummingbird visits red cannas

Wonders of Nature

“I love hummingbird characteristics—they provide so much beauty and wonder. Their ability to hover over the red cannas in my garden and sip the nectar always amazes me. As quickly as they can move their wings, it gives me a moment to pause and take in the wonders of Mother Nature,” says Linda Havron of Bayport, New York.

Hummingbird anatomy: here’s why these tiny fliers are amazing.

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Courtesy Lisa Cornwell
Hummingbird on a swing

Source of Joy

“The sight of a hummingbird at my feeder is pure joy to me. They are so cute that they make me smile. I also love when I see a hummingbird swinging in the breeze, just sitting on the feeder, enjoying the ride!” says Mary Zeller of Topeka, Kansas.

When you’re done reading about these unique hummingbird characteristics, learn how to create an ideal hummingbird habitat.