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Author Topic: What is this animal that hovers like a hummingbird and eats nectar from plants?  (Read 55693 times)

banging door

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You are all WRONG. This was a real bird.bigger than the hovering moth that if you live in France as I do we all are used to seeing. This is a bird ,about the size and colour of a large wren or a small sparrow. No bits sticking out from the head. A long beak, fast beating wings,and moved from side to side, as a humming bird would.It was definately not an insect.!!

rosy

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Er... yeah. Hi, Banging Door. Good to meet you too.

All of who are wrong about what? You're a first time poster, so presumably they're not all wrong about something you've seen... because presumably you haven't told us about that yet. All the people in this thread seem fairly sure that what they've seen was a hummingbird hawkmoth (and do note that all but two of the posts in this thread are over a year old..).

So I'm at a loss to understand why you've suddenly arrived here and got all shouty! Perhaps you'd like to explain?

Don_1

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Banging door has me more than a little confused, Rosy. He/she has me utterly baffled!

If you live in France, Banging door, you will most certainly not see Hummingbirds in the wild, since they are native to the Americas only. And before you suggest that they have migrated to Europe, Hummingbirds do not migrate. In fact, Hummingbirds are known to be reluctant to fly over open ground at all.

I can absolutely assure you, what everyone has been describing here has been a species of Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Those seen in southern Europe, and as far north as the Midlands in Britain, are an African species and are well documented.

banging door

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Hello Don. Hello Rosie. Hello all of you whom I have blusteringly offended.(shout) I AM VERY VERY SORRY You are quite right to be confused,but my friend Pete (oh dear, it was not even me ) was all excited because he had seen this hovering bird drinking in the nectar from the flowers of some 'belle de nuit'plants  in my garden, in SW France, and asked me if I knew what it was and did Humming birds come here. We have a lot of migrating birds pass this way, and we both discussed it.He said it was not a moth as that was the first thing I asked him.Pete was bought up in the contry side and knows his birds by sight and sound, much more so than me.So he swears it was not the moth the previous people have seen.When I suggested we Google it I came up with this site and I'm really glad to say 'hello'We both have seen the bird fly by again, my camera is poised,and I really hope it stays around.So-- does any one have ideas about it?

Don_1

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Your apology is graciously accepted, Banging door.

As I wrote in my previous post, Hummingbirds are native to the Americas and are not a migratory bird. It has recently been discovered that a gap of 100m between tree growth is a barrier to hummingbirds. They will not fly over such distances without cover. There are certainly no hummingbirds native to Europe and I suspect any escapee from a zoo or private aviary would not last long in the European climate.

The Hummingbird Hawk Moth often seen in Europe, is an African native which has been gradually spreading north over the past 20 years or so. Although it is a moth, it is not nocturnal and bares very little resemblance to any other moth. In fact, it looks far more like a large bumble bee than a moth, but with the characteristic flight and feeding habits of a Hummingbird. The plant you have seen it feeding on is just the right flower shape for its liking. Short to medium length tubular flowers.

The wings are more like those of a bee than the large fluttering and powdery wings of a moth.

Altogether, the fact that it is a hawk moth rather puts people in a quandary, because it doesn't look like a moth, doesn't act like a moth and fly's by daylight, but a moth it is.

jnjamiedan

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I live in Michigan. I didn't know we had hummingbird hawkmoths here but we do. The first time I seen one was last year. They are really interesting to watch.
« Last Edit: 17/09/2011 14:38:49 by jnjamiedan »

axelz

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i live in northwestern colorado at about 7500 feet elevation. we always have lots of hummingbirds, but for the last few years i've noticed these moths in the evenings getting nectar from the flowers. they're pretty neat! now i know what they are! yeah!

OregonQuilter

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I live in northeastern Oregon and saw one of these about a half hour ago.  It stayed drinking from my hummingbird feeder for a long time.  Long enough for me to run in the house and get my camera.  It then continued to drink while I took several photos.  I was totally freaked out.  We are big into birdwatching and have many feeders of all types around our second story deck, but this was the first time I'd ever seen this creature.  It allowed me to hold my camera inches-maybe 3 and didn't even get scared when the flash went off.  When I Googled it this site came up.  thanks to all you folks who shared thier stories.

Don_1

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Glad we could be of assistance to you axelz & OregonQuilter.

The weather here in the UK has been a tad on the soggy side of late. I would venture into the garden if I only had some waterwings. That is, once I get over this bout of trenchfoot!

I should be surprised if we see any of these moths this far north this year, in fact, right now, bee keepers are warning of a shortage of honey this year, if the weather doesn't perk up a bit very soon.

Since I don't invisage seeing any of these moths for some time, how about posting a picture or two OregonQuilter?

OregonQuilter

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I would love to share my photos, how do I post them?

OregonQuilter

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I figured it out, but don't have the software to get it under 128kb and still be able to view it. I would be happy to send the full photo via email if anyone is interested.

Don_1

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Have you considered setting up an account with Flickr? Its easy way to share photos and allows you to restrict who can see what.



This was taken from my Flickr account.

Click on the image to see larger.

RD

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... I figured it out, but don't have the software to get it under 128kb ...

http://luci.criosweb.ro/riot/ [many other tools are available to resize images].

NB: the maximum image width for this forum is 800 pixels, as well as the 128Kb size limit,
        a jpeg of 30Kb-60Kb us usually sufficient for a good quality reproduction here.
« Last Edit: 21/06/2012 13:20:00 by RD »

OregonQuilter

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I took your advice and opened a Flickr account.  Go to www.flickr.com/photos/beckfitz/

Thanks for the advice, Don_1.

jhanson

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Seems I'm always late to the party; I just saw my first Hummingbird Hawkmoth today, and I'll be 62 years old next week!  I had no idea that such a moth existed.  I'm thrilled that a group of them chose to visit my garden!  Without this wonderful site, I wouldn't have been sure what they were without a lot more digging; I could see moth-like antennae, but I didn't expect a wing structure like that, nor did I expect a group of moths dining in the bright sun!

Don_1

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..... I just saw my first Hummingbird Hawkmoth today, and I'll be 62 years old next week!


Welcome to the forum & happy birthday for next week.

You can keep these interesting moths coming back to your garden by ensuring a good supply of the right flowers. Small tubular flowers are favourite, such as Verbena.

jhanson

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Thanks, Don_1.  My botany knowledge is really underfunded!  I believe what I have in my garden is Blue Salvia that looks very similar to Verbena.  I have several pictures, but haven't reduced them yet to post.

Geezer

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Hummingbirds are native to the Americas and are not a migratory bird.

Sorry to disagree guvn'r, but the ones around here all scarper PDQ at the first sign of Winter. Actually, the little characters migrate some fairly amazing distances.

Don_1

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Begging your pardon Mr Geezer, sir.

Yes, there are a half dozen or so humming birds which do migrate within the Americas, but none migrate to Europe or anywhere else outside of the Americas.

Those which do migrate, do so alone, not in flocks and tend to fly low. This is probably to keep an eye out for any chance to feed. Though one species, the Ruby Throated, is known to cross the Gulf of Mexico and some even cross the Mojave desert.

Geezer

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but none migrate to Europe

I can't say as I blame them :)

As I speak, one of them just showed up at my window and made quite a commotion when it found out the feeder was empty!
« Last Edit: 16/07/2012 19:47:07 by Geezer »

Don_1

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but none migrate to Europe

I can't say as I blame them :)


I really don't know what you mean by this, he said donning his thermals and oil skins.

marsjefke

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What a great forum!  thank you for providing such timely info.

I too, witnessed my first hummingbird hawkmoth this afternoon here in Ontario Canada.  It hovered over two pots of geraniums on my deck, stopping at each bloom. 

I noticed several comments about the connection to lavender.  This is only the second year I've enjoyed my lovely lavender - perhaps that's why I've never seen them around here before? 

thanks for feeding my curiosity. :)

Vibes

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I spotted one in Southern Illinois.  Very neat insect and Very neat site you have here.

 

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