It's easy to mistake a Ruby-throated Hummingbird for a bee at first glance. Their wings beat 60 to 80 times a second, and like the Mangrove Hummingbird and other hummingbird species, become a blur of motion.
This is the only breeding hummingbird in eastern North America, familiar to many as a backyard visitor. But even those familiar with the bird are often unaware of a threat to the species lurking in every home on the East Coast.
Birds don't see glass as we do. They are often enticed by the reflection of trees and sky, then hit windows at great speed. Frequently, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and other birds—up to one billion each year in the United States—die as a result.
Donate to support ABC's conservation mission!
Our Glass Collisions Program is focused entirely on advancing solutions that prevent birds from hitting windows. After several years of research and testing, we now provided a set of proven products that will help stop glass collisions, for every conceivable situation and budget.
Visit our Bird-Smart Glass page to learn about products for homeowners, architects, builders, and other interested in saving Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and other frequent window collisions victims, including Wood Thrush and White-throated Sparrow.
Sign up for ABC's eNews to learn how you can help protect birds!
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate as far as Central America, where they can be found wintering on shade coffee farms. Unlike today's typical “sun” coffee farm, which razes all trees but the coffee itself, these traditional farms grow coffee in the shade of native trees. By doing so, they produce superior coffee and provide habitat for dozens of migratory songbirds.
The importance of shade coffee for migratory birds was confirmed by naturalists Kenn and Kim Kaufman, who estimated that a single shade coffee farm in Nicaragua sheltered more than 1,200 migratory bird species—including the Ruby-throated Hummingbird—on just 90 acres.
In his recent book, Steven Johnson coins the term “Hummingbird Effect” to make the point that innovation in one realm can trigger unpredictable and unexpected advancement in others. We not only agree, but have dozens of examples of how great American bird conservation projects make considerable, sometimes unexpected contributions to other important causes including amphibian conservation, human health, food safety, climate change, water conservation, and home energy savings. Support the Hummingbird Effect today.
Want to live a bird-friendly life? Try these six simple steps!