“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.