I’ve spent the last few (early) mornings sitting in a blind or a chair watching Ruby-throated Hummingbirds feed on the flowers in the backyard garden. Occasionally a male visits, but he is wary, hiding behind flowers where he is obscured from view. Two other female or juvenile hummers are bolder and will hover in full view on flowers about 20 feet away. Here are a few of my attempts to capture the action:
To be effective at pollinating a flower, the hummingbird must insert its beak all the way in so that the flower’s reproductive parts, particularly the pollen on the anthers, will rub off on its head, as seen below.
Below is some HD video I took of one hummer. You might not be able to see the video if you are reading the blog from your email, so go the blog post itself by clicking on the title of the blog in the email. In the bottom right corner of the video are three icons. Click on HD to enable that view (recommended), or on the icon that looks like a speedometer to slow the action to 0.5 real time (also recommended). Click on the right-most icon to view in full screen mode (best view). It’s difficult to appreciate the incredible control these hummers have over their position in space until you slow it down. Click on the X in the top left corner after the video finishes to return to the blog post.
To learn more about the coevolution of cardinal flower and hummingbird pollinators, click here: https://bybio.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/a-perfect-fit/