Monday, September 14, 2015


Hummingbirds consume nectar from plants. Does that mean they are herbivores? Or, is nectar in a category all it's own?

I watched this hummingbird recently land on the rope and then hover around the hook on the hanging planter. It seemed to be trying to look up under the hook.

Then it landed on the rope again and carefully inspected the hook once more. I wonder now if it was perhaps looking at an ant. I must have accidentally spilled some juice from the feeder because there was a steady parade of small ants climbing the pole to the rope, from the rope to the hook on the feeder, and down the feeder to the container at the bottom. That was a few days after these photos, but I wonder if it was looking at an ant. Relatively speaking, it is incredible how far the ants were walking to reach the feeder.

Actually, hummingbirds are not herbivores. If anything, they are omnivores because not only do they consume nectar, but they also eat small insects such as gnats. In the next three pictures, you can see small gnats flying above the hummingbird. Although she didn't make any attempt to eat them, she does show an interest in them.

One of the most memorable incidents I ever saw relating to a hummingbird had to do with one picking off gnats that were flying around in a cloud. It kept flying upwards a foot or so, eating a gnat, then dropping back down and hovering while rocking it's bottom like a baby with a full diaper. When a bird does this, the activity is called hawking.

A few days ago, I watched one work over some flowers in two or three locations, then stop and lick the petals on a rose. As it turned to leave, it ran into a small swarm of gnats highlighted in a spot of sunlight, picked off a couple, and flew on. So, I would guess they are probably omivores.

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