We all know that birds are amazingly light creatures. The next time you pick up a penny, stop to hold it in the palm of your hand and feel the weight of it. A penny is often used as an example of how much (or how little!) a Ruby-throated Hummingbird weighs!
Ruby-throated Hummingbird at WBU Decorative Feeder
The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior states that "Flight requires a body light enough to be lifted without excessive expenditure of energy yet strong enough to withstand the many stresses of aerial life."
It is fairly well known that birds have hollow bones, but here are just a couple other adaptations that keep birds' weight low:
- No bird gives birth to fully developed young
- Highly efficent digestive system
- Lack of heavy toothed jaw
SOURCE: The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior
So now it's Quiz Time! See if you can place these seven common backyard birds in order by weight from HEAVIEST to LIGHTEST.
Use the Comment section to post your answers. Have fun! Answers will be posted in a couple days.
Mourning Dove 4.0 oz.
Blue Jay 4.0 oz.
Northern Cardinal 2.0 oz.
Downy Woodpecker 1.5 oz.
White-breasted Nuthatch 0.7 oz.
American Goldfinch 0.5 oz.
Black capped Chickadee 0.4 oz.
For comparison, check out this post to see how much squirrels weigh.