Natural History

Top 10 Craziest Animal Lifestyles in North America

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Calliope Hummingbird
Barrie Britton/DCL

7. Calliope Hummingbirds

Sometimes you just get the urge to pick up and go!

In the meadows of Wyoming, the Calliope hummingbird has just finished an epic journey — a 2,500 mile solo flight up from Mexico.

And that’s a lot of flapping … we’re not exactly talking about the 90-inch wingspan of, say, an eagle.

The Calliope hummingbird is three inches from tip to tail and as light as penny … one of the smallest birds in North America.

The annual migration takes place along the Rocky Mountains, and they are believed to be the smallest-bodied long distance migrant in the world.

But they do not get pushed around.

Armed with a bill that looks like a Bowie knife, they will furiously defend a choice plot of land from rivals and other species.

(Speaking of furious, here’s an interesting tidbit: The hummingbird heart palpitates at over 1,200 beats per minute.)

As is so often the case in the animal world (and dare we say ours as well?), the male must work hard for the attention of a prospective mate.

The male Calliope hummingbird spreads his throat feathers, hoping to be as tempting as a flower to the female of his dreams.

Apparently, flowers almost always do the trick for one fortunate male.

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