Monday, April 29, 2013

Hummingbird Tongues

This weekend, I was stalking the hummingbird feeder again.  The Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds were once again replaced by the Black-Chinned Hummingbird clan.  At least, for the adult male individuals present, this was the case.  With the females or juvenile males, I am a lot less certain of my identification 

I was fortunate to get a sequence one with its tongue still sticking out after feeding:

Hummingbird tongues turn out to be pretty complicated appendages as described in this interesting video. Nothing whatsoever like I had imagined.   In addition, the lower half of their beaks are able to snap shut very fast based on a "snap-buckling" effect as described in this article, allowing them to catch insects on the fly.  I had not realized how much of their diet is not nectar.

I also imaged another individual with a big dob of pollen on its beak:

It is fascinating to contemplate the fact that reflected in the tiny hummingbird's eye is a recognizable image of the backyard.

All shots taken with Canon 60Da and Canon EF 70-200/f4L lens from approximately 5ft away at 200mm,  f/6.3, 1/1250sec, ISO-2000.

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