Photographer Erik Neuteboom: Hummingbirds and Aruba

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Aruba Today likes to show their readers, followers, friends the beauty of our island in all its aspects. We support individuals, foundations and organization that protect the island’s flora, fauna and culture. We know that these are the treasures we must preserve and the reason why our tourists visit One Happy Island. With words and images we share the wonders of Mother Nature. Have a look at the wonderful pictures by photographer Erik Neuteboom.

The almost 340 species of hummingbirds are restricted to the New World, where they can be found from Tierra del Fuego to southern Alaska, most species live in the tropics. On Aruba we can find the Ruby-topaz (‘the red one’) and the Blue-tailed emerald (‘the green one’), but the White-necked jacobin is also often mentioned. The best time to watch hummingbirds is when the aloe vera flowers blossom.

A hummingbird its heart beats from 225 times per minute at rest to over 1,200 times when flying. The wings beat between 50 and 200 flaps per second and more than 200 times while diving. The maximum speed is 30 miles per hour, but up to 60 miles in a dive.

Hummingbirds their power and small size allow tremendous agility in flight, like staying in one place during flight, and fly backward and upside-down as well. Hummingbirds have the smallest eggs, as tiny as peas and are placed in a walnut shell-sized cup woven from spider webs and plant material. Depending on the species, habitat conditions, predators and other factors the average lifespan of a wild hummingbird is between 3 and 6 years, sadly most die in the first year. Hummingbirds are one of the few groups of birds that are known to go into ‘torpor’: this is a very deep, sleep-like state in which metabolic functions are slowed to a minimum and a very low body temperature is maintained. Despite their small size hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive bird species, they will regularly attack jays, crows and hawks that infringe on their territory. Due to their their high-energy lifestyle a hummingbird must consume one half of its weight in sugar daily, and the average hummingbird feeds five to eight times per hour.

About the artist.
“I was born in 1960 in the Dutch city The Hague. My late father was very much into photography and nature, I have inherited this from him. In the early Eighties I bought my first camera. During the years I had many hobbies but the last 10 years I focused on photography, combined with a start as ‘birdwatcher’. Now I am retired as psychiatric nurse and live since late 2017 on Aruba (with my wife Hetty), photography has become my main hobby. I love to show people how wonderful the Aruban nature is, especially on my Facebook sub-page Dushi Aruba.”