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The Hummingbird Imposter

At first glance it appeared to be dozens of tiny hummingbirds getting nectar from a large flowering bush in my neighbor’s front yard. Excited, I darted in the house to grab my camera. Once I got closer to the shrub it became apparent that these were not hummingbirds, but hummingbird moths.

These moths have plump bodies with the ability to hover over flowers just like hummingbirds do. Each moth flew from flower to flower, hovered and unfurled its long curled up proboscis to push deep into the blossom to siphon nectar.

Unlike most moths that are active in the night, the hummingbird moth flies by day and some are active at sunset. And unlike most moths that do not have any appendages to eat with, this moth depends on nectar to survive.

There are several species of hummingbird moths which are found throughout North America and many more found around the world. Two of the North American species are pictured here.

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