Eyelashes and Hummingbird Tongues


I learned some new things about hummingbirds this week. First, I learned that for years now, I have had two types of hummingbirds coming to my feeders.
I knew that I had broad-tailed hummers — they are the most common hummingbirds in the Western US. With a flashy red throat “gorget” and a metallic ringing sound when they zip by, it’s easy to know that they’re around.

Male broadtailed hummingbird gets pollen from a bull thistle.

Male broadtailed hummingbird gets pollen from a bull thistle.

But this week I discovered that I have even more delightful hummers visiting — a family of calliope hummingbirds.
Calliope hummingbirds are the smallest hummers in North America. The male isn’t as showy as his larger cousin. He has purple streaks on his throat instead of a red gorget.

Male calliope hummingbirds have dark collars.

Male calliope hummingbirds have purple collars. In this photo, the collar is grey, because the light isn’t shining on it.

Both sexes of calliope hummers have the charming habit of flicking their tails as they hover.

Female calliope flicking her tail while hovering.

Female calliope flicking her tail while hovering. Her beak is yellow with pollen.

And they seem to like to flick out their tongues after they have fed.

 

Male calliope hummingbird flicking out his tongue.  Notice that he has lower eyelashes.

Male calliope hummingbird flicking out his tongue.
Notice that he has lower eyelashes.

But the final thing that I learned about hummingbirds this week is that they have eyelashes.

About coloradogeography

Amy Law is a second-generation Coloradoan with a passion for her native state. This translated into a Master’s degree in Natural Resources from Colorado State University, and continues as a lifelong fascination with how people and nature interact. From family vacations in the station wagon to travel for work, she's covered the state, and everywhere she goes, she finds new things to see and ideas to explore.
This entry was posted in Colorado Mileposts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Eyelashes and Hummingbird Tongues

  1. Pat Law says:

    This is just wonderful! Did you take ALL of the photos. Maybe the title should be Eyelashes and Hummingbird Tongues.

  2. I don’t think we have calliope hummers. Unfortunately we do have the rufous, who chases the poor broadtails away. Great shots, Amy!

  3. Pingback: Eight Inches of Water in a Week | Colorado Geography In Depth and At Altitude

  4. Pingback: Calliope Hummingbirds | Colorado Geography In Depth and At Altitude

  5. Pingback: Hummer colors | Colorado Geography In Depth and At Altitude

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s