Hummingbirds: A Beginner's Guide
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Hummingbirds: A Beginner's Guide

by Laurel Aziz, Adrian Forsyth
     
 

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The hummingbird brings a whole new meaning to the word "unique." Boasting the smallest bird in the world, this family ranges in size from the two inch long bumblebee hummingbird to the giant hummingbird, which reaches a length of eight inches. The hummer's metabolism is as powerful as the engine of a high-performance race car, its heart pumping at a stunning 1,260

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Overview

The hummingbird brings a whole new meaning to the word "unique." Boasting the smallest bird in the world, this family ranges in size from the two inch long bumblebee hummingbird to the giant hummingbird, which reaches a length of eight inches. The hummer's metabolism is as powerful as the engine of a high-performance race car, its heart pumping at a stunning 1,260 beats per minute to maintain a steamy body temperature of 105 degrees F. Its mighty chest muscles account for more than one third of its weight and allow it to flap disproportionately large wings at a dizzying 50 to 200 times per second. No wonder a hummingbird sighting in a backyard garden is cause for delighted celebration. In Hummingbirds: A Beginner's Guide, award-winning writer Laurel Aziz explores these details and many more, bringing to life this tiny force of nature. Hummingbirds is illustrated throughout with stunning full color photographs.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist - Carolyn Phelan
Offers a good deal of information illustrated with many clearly reproduced, brightly colored photographs from many sources.
Quill and Quire - Gwyneth Evans
A reader who takes in all Aziz has to say about hummingbirds, and their place in nature and human society, will have learned a lot about biology and ecology along the way.
Resource Links - Eva Wilson
A visually stunning, informative, well researched work.
Bird Talk
A good starting point for those who wish to explore these extraordinary birds.
Canadian Materials - Dave Jenkinson
Throughout, the book is generously illustrated with full-colour, close-up photographs of hummingbirds, often full page. While some photos are just decorative, most are functional and are used to illustrate the points being made in the text. While a fact book, Hummingbirds: A Beginner's Guide is also the kind of work that many children, adolescents and adults will pick up just as recreational reading. Highly Recommended.
Carolyn Phelan
Offers a good deal of information illustrated with many clearly reproduced, brightly colored photographs from many sources.
Booklist
Children's Literature
Color-coded, topic-marked pages make this an excellent source for everyone from middle grade students to adult birdwatchers. Hummingbirds, from the two-inch Cuban bee to the eight-inch hummingbird of the Andes, are featured throughout this guide, showing their incredible abilities and adaptations. A popular myth about hummingbirds is that they typically seek red flowers. According to Ms. Aziz, hummingbirds are more interested in a flower's sugar content than its color. Hummingbirds are very picky eaters. Even though most hummingbirds' diets are comprised of some insects, many dine on a specific flower. This offers a great ecology lesson. The destruction of one flower could result in the annihilation of a total species of hummingbird. The stunning pictures allow the reader to capture the uniqueness of each variety. This is important since few hummers are found in any one location. For example, the ruby-throat is the only hummingbird that nests east of the Mississippi. Because the dating and mating section discusses habits and abilities without too much detail on the actual mating, this book is appropriate for all readers. This book shows the hummingbird as unusual in every way. 2002, Firefly Books,
— Judith Bean <%ISBN%>1552094871
School Library Journal
Gr 7-Up "Mesmerizing" describes these little birds whose behavior, ecology, and physical characteristics are depicted in this slim, colorful work. From their specialized beaks, to methods of flight, nest building, and courtship rituals, the birds are illustrated with well-labeled color photos. Though the information is standard for that found in most bird books, the descriptive writing and the intriguing life of these hummers make this more than a beginner's guide; some basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology will be helpful to understand the significance of mitochondria or nictitating membranes. This book could serve as a springboard to more reading about or observation of these little creatures; at the very least, readers will want to put up a hummingbird feeder. Millie Miller and Cyndi Nelson's Hummers: Hummingbirds of North America (Johnson, 1987) is a combination field guide and reference; Aziz's work is more complete than Peter Murray's Hummingbirds (Child's World, 1993; o.p.) or Esther Quesada Tyrrell's Hummingbirds (Crown, 1992; o.p.). -Pam Spencer Holley, Young Adult Literature Specialist, Virginia Beach, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781552093726
Publisher:
Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date:
03/02/2002
Pages:
64
Sales rank:
1,264,632
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Introduction
The Flower Kissers

It had been a long, hot summer, the kind you associate with the high-pitched buzz of cicadas breaking the still air. In early spring, I had scattered the seeds for nasturtiums, hollyhocks, snapdragons and poppies in my yard, hoping that at the peak of the growing season, the orange, yellow and red blooms would be a colorful lure to transient ruby-throated hummingbirds. Now, the eye-catching flowers had come into bloom, and I waited -- for weeks. I had nearly given up hope of having a hummingbird visitor in my yard when, early one morning, I heard the characteristic clicking and chirping as a tiny bird hovered at a nasturtium, flying forward and in reverse as it probed the flower for nectar. It had arrived in a flash and fed without disturbing a petal, and then it was gone.

Bird watching is one of North America's favorite outdoor pastimes, yet few members of the avian family create as much excitement as does a hummingbird when it pays a visit. Beautiful and delicate, pugnacious and tame, these fairylike birds with their rainbow-colored plumage can dive into your garden with little fanfare and instantaneously cast their magical spell. Their names evoke the splendor of their breed: berylline, brilliant, coquette, emerald, empress, magenta-throated woodstar, magnificent, mountain-gem, ruby-throated, rufous and scintillant, to name just a handful. And it is no exaggeration to suggest that with their burnished plummage and aerobatics, as they row the air in tight little figure eights, the dazzling hummingbirds are nothing short of mesmerizing.

Few of us will see more than the smallest fraction of the world's some 330 hummingbird species during our lives. Every encounter, however, treats us to the charm and mystery of the hummingbird world. In the following pages, we'll explore the hummer's intricate beauty and charm. The more you understand the nature of these birds -- where they live, how they feed, nest and breed -- the more rewarding you'll find the already delightful experience of meeting them face to face.

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Meet the Author

Laurel Aziz is a frequent contributor to Canadian Geographic and Canadian Wildlife. She is also the coauthor, with Adrian Forsyth, of Animal Architecture and Exploring the World of Birds and the author of Decoys, Wildfowl Art and Yellowstone, all published by Firefly Books.

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