NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Hummingbird Moth

Hummingbird Moth

What an amazing creature is the Hummingbird Moth. I’ll never forget where I was when I spied one for the first time. It was “buzzing” around my woodland retreat. I literally chased it around my flower beds all day. Capturing it, on camera, was a chore. Fast and shy are these delicate natural copy-cat marvels.

I felt like I was privilege to something very uncommon. That is, until I looked them up and found them to be the opposite. The above photos were marked July 22nd in my archives. Your best chance to notice them is knowing that they exist. They drink nectar from flowers with the same straw-like tongue as butterflies. They especially like berry bushes in bloom and I believe it is safe to assume, they are pollinators too. Unlike most moths, they are out among the flowers on warm, bright, sunny days.

It is exceptionally easy to mistake them for hummingbirds. That fact gives them some protection from predators like bats and birds.

There are so many delights to find when we take a close look at nature first-hand. I posted the video (that I found) of one, for a real show.

 hairs from the end of the abdomen look a lot like feathers. The wings of this moth are mostly clear, sometimes with some red near the body.

17 thoughts on “NATURE KNOWLEDGE: Hummingbird Moth

  1. I love these little guys. We have them here in France and every year I try to get a good photo of them. As you say it’s very difficult. Last year there were lots of them coming to a blue weed in one of the flowerbeds and I sat for hours on a chair with my macro lense. They hover for such a short time and then blast off again!

  2. One day, a long long time ago (around ten years), my girlfriend (at the time) and I were camping in the Wasatch mountains in Utah. We’d been traveling, in fact we were taking two and a half months to drive cross country. It was her birthday, and we went for a stroll along the creek. Before long we came to a little meadow, with lots of dandelions … and these weird little things drinking their nectar. This was my introduction to hummingbird moths. I had a camera with me, and started to photograph them, when I heard Lesli shout my name urgently. I turned, quickly, and got two photos before the moth left. Here’s the better of them:

    (I hope that isn’t rude, posting a link in a comment? It’s very much on topic, and I think you’ll be delighted to see it. I’ve been told it’s the best picture I’ve ever shot.)

    I don’t know that this is true, but I’ve heard that these moths spend their entire lives “in the air,” either flying, or resting on branches. Their wings are too big, so the story goes, and they can’t take off from the ground. If one were to land on the ground, that would be the end of the story (if the person informing me was correct), so, when they need a rest, they find a convenient plant, but their realm is the sky. Again, I’m not certain this is true, but it’s a wild thought.

    1. WOW! A really great photo. They seem to have more stripes than those in my “neck of the woods”. Thanks for taking the time to share. I recommend following this link to everyone!

      1. I hadn’t read your whole post since it came up in a small window on my dashboard….I enjoy the fact that you added a link. I find that “wild legend” hard to believe though, but interesting. Anyone who finds the answer would be welcomed to post an update.

      2. I wonder if the stripes come from desert living, to help them hide? I guess I’m not thinking so much of the strikes, as the tan and white coloring, and the pattern that could be twigs or something to that effect?

  3. I can’t believe you got a photo of it. I have only seen one once in my life time and although I got a big fright it was very shy and went away immediately.

  4. P.S. I Love Soap Co.

    The first time i saw one of these it scared the — out of me. Then I realized it was the Hummingbird moth. They’re fun to watch!

  5. And now you’re turning me into a Bug-Watcher. I found a fascinating, colorful little guy today and showed it to my hubbie. “That’s a baby stink bug,” he informed me. “It’s still cute,” I said.

  6. Beautiful, uh? I’ve seen them in Italy and Belgium. I couldn’t believe my eyes, the first time I saw them. In Italy I saw an even smaller one. It made a lot of noise.
    They are fascinating. Great photo’s!

  7. Pingback: Blazing Red Eyes. « the unbearable lightness of being me.

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