Counting Calories Is for the Hummingbirds

The informational graphic entitled "Flying Jewels" (July 13) stated that while humans burn a little over 2,000 calories a day, hummingbirds burn between 6,660 and 12,000 calories a day. I think you missed a couple of decimal points.

Hummers do eat a lot of sugar from plant nectar, but 12,000 calories translates to 8 pounds of sugar. Nearly all hummingbirds weigh less than one ounce. They consume about their weight in food every day. One ounce of sugar equals 100 calories. Somewhere between 66 and 120 calories a day sounds a lot better.

It may not sound like much, but if you translate that metabolism into human terms, we would all burn about 250,000 calories a day and excrete 20 gallons of water. Not a happy thought.

CHARLES BRAGG JR.

Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society

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