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Everything Broad Ripple HomearrowRandom Ripplings Homearrow2020 06 18arrowColumn

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Right in my Own Backyard by Brandt Carter - Facts
posted: Jun. 18, 2020

Right in my Own Backyard header

Just as the Broad Ripple Gazette illuminates with facts, anecdotes, and interesting tales of the area, I would like to share some fascinating figures about our backyard wildlife:
  • The ruby-throated hummingbird's heartbeat rate at rest is 615 beats per minute; the mourning dove's heartbeat rate at rest is 135 beats per minute.
  • A hummingbird takes 250 breaths per minute.
  • A ruby-throated hummingbird's wingbeat is 70 times per second; a starling's 5.1, while a mourning dove has only 2.5 wingbeats per second.
  • A sharp-shinned hawk can fly 67 miles a day and up to 14.2 mph.
  • A white-crowned sparrow has a repertoire of one song or theme while a cardinal has 8-12 themes in a song. A mocking bird can have 53-150 themes in its song.
  • A hummingbird normally has 2 eggs in a clutch; wrens have 5-8 eggs.
  • If a ruby-throated hummingbird lives past its first year, its lifespan can be as long as 5-12 years. A cardinal can live as long as 13 years, while a house wren may live only 3-7 years.
  • The cardinal is our state bird and the state birds of all our bordering states except Michigan, which designates the robin as its state bird.
  • The bird with the fewest feathers is the ruby-throated hummingbirds with 940.
  • The red-headed woodpecker holds the physiology record for the greatest G-force. The woodpecker's beak hits a tree at 13 mph.
  • 392 species of birds have been seen in Indiana.

Anna's hummingbird is the only species to produce a song.
Anna's hummingbird is the only species to produce a song.
image courtesy of Robert McMorran, United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Hopefully these curious facts will add to your storehouse of knowledge -- or help you win at trivia! It's intriguing to know more about birds just like it's fun to know more about the lore of Broad Ripple.

Brandt Carter, artist, herbalist, and naturalist, owns Backyard Birds at 2374 E. 54th Street. Visit her web site Email your bird questions to
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