- Author: Karen Metz
One of my favorite things in the garden is getting to watch the hummingbirds. I enjoy watching them travel from flower to flower, trying a little nectar here, and then a little nectar there. I love it when the sunlight reflects off their throat patch, giving it that ruby glow. I am impressed by their moxie. They don't seem afraid of creatures much larger than they are. I love their chirrupy call and the sound their wings make. I've been watching them for years, so I thought I'd seen pretty much everything ...
Until a few mornings ago, I went to my window and saw a hummingbird going from grape leaf to grape leaf. I was really puzzled as I knew there were not any flowers on the vine, and only two clusters of grapes on that vine. As I got closer I saw he was rubbing himself on the leaf, then ducking his head and throwing back his shoulders, all while his little wings were just whirring away. He did this on several leaves, before it finally dawned on me what was going on. The sprinklers had just finished running and the grape leaves were sheeted with water. The hummer was cleaning himself in the water on the leaves, and seemed to be having a grand time.
He also seems to think that the tomato cages have been put out for his convenience to perch on and rest in between checking out gladiola blossoms. Hey, I am always happy to be of service.
- Author: Karen Metz
One of the many special joys of gardening is coming face to face with hummingbirds. I love to watch them sip from flowers or just perch and survey their territory. That's why Keith and I were thrilled to see a tiny hummingbird sampling the flowers at a flower box at a restaurant in Rudesheim, Germany. He was the tiniest thing we had ever seen. He was brown and rust and white and hummed and hovered enchantingly.
I vaguely remembered that there was a hummingbird referred to as a bee hummingbird, so that evening I lhit the Internet. No, the bee hummingbird is from Cuba and is a striking blue color which this creature was not. As I researched I found that there are no hummingbirds in Europe, only the New World. Interestingly about two years ago they did find hummingbird fossils near Frankfurt Germany. I did find out there was a zoo near Rudesheim that had a hummingbird enclosure; perhaps one had escaped.
Then I found a question to a bird site where someone else had seen a small hummingbird in Germany. The expert gently suggested that they had perhaps seen a European hummingbird hawk moth, Macroglossum stellatarum. No Way! I was a biology major. I'm a Master Gardener for crying out loud. I'm not going to mistake a moth for a bird. Nevertheless I did Google the European hummingbird hawk moth and sure enough that was exactly what my husband and I saw. The moth flies during the day time, hovers and even has the hummm of the hummingbird. It's incredible. They say it's an example of convergent evolution that they have ended up so similar. Take a look at the pictures that my husband took and see if you would have been fooled too.