Tongue of hummingbird

“At a feeder, a hummingbird extrudes and withdraws its tongue thirteen times a second. Hummingbirds do not sip nectar; they lap it. The tongue is forked, like a snake’s, with absorbent fringes along the edge of each fork…The tongue is so long that, when retracted, it extends back to the rear of the skull and then curls around to lie on top of the skull.”

—Sy Montgomery, The Hummingbirds’ Gift: Wonder, Beauty, and Renewal on Wings

Tongue of hummingbird outside my window.

The only way I can get such a photo is by videoing and going back, frame by frame, to select a still shot.

Utterly mesmerizing, these tiny creatures and the way they are designed. They have the largest brain and heart of any bird in relation to its size, plus a skullful of tongue.

—Wild.

6 thoughts on “Tongue of hummingbird

  1. Wow, great shot! I love hummingbirds, too and I grow flowers for them, butterflies, and bees. I am fascinated by hummingbirds as you are. I knew some of those facts, but not all of them. Thank you for sharing the facts and the name of the resource. I remember you recommending Sy Montgomery’s book about elephants, which seemed like an excellent book. I am started to research pollinators for a maybe poetry book collection. Therefore, this book will be very helpful. Have you ever come across a children’s poetry book about pollinators? Thank you for sharing your words, resource, joy, and inspiration. Your words always make me happy. 🙂 Thank you, my friend.

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    • I think it was Sy Montgomery’s book The Soul of an Octopus I recommended – I love that book – or maybe one for children, Inky’s Amazing Escape, also about an octopus. As for children’s books on poetry: Check out Summer’s Flight, Pollen’s Delight: Meet the Bees, Butterflies, Birds and other Creatures Who Keep Our World Green and Alive! by Flora C. Caputo – gorgeous! See also: The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall; The Reason for a Flower: A Book About Flowers, Pollen, and Seeds by Ruth Heller; and UnBEElievables by Douglas Florian. And – please know that you also spread so much happiness, Gail, with your words.

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  2. I’m not sure if I have your mailing address but I’d love to send you some pictures of hummers from my Costa Rica trip. Can you email me your address?

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    • Bradbury’s poem is just gorgeous, Joanne. I will likely be writing of hummingbirds a while yet, as even more of them are coming to the feeders. They are mesmerizing to me. As to their disappearance there where you are…next spring, maybe early April, put out a feeder and see what happens…

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