Hummingbirds have been slow to give up their secrets, but slowly, we've learned to understand them.
Thanks to a certain resemblance to an insect, the hummingbird is known in French as “oiseau mouche” (fly bird). Its fondness for the calyxes of blossoms has inspired the Portuguese names “beija flor” (flower kisser) and “chupa flor” (flower sucker), and the related Spanish “pica flor” (flower poker). In other languages, hummingbirds are known as “Kolibri,” a word likely of Caribbean origin, or Trochilidae, their scientific name (which was provided by Carl Linnaeus and, curiously, seems to relate to a different bird — a type of kinglet called “trochilus” by the ancient Greeks). These inventive names reflect the wonder and enigma that surrounds these creatures and the peculiar abilities and proclivities that set them apart from other birds.[more inside]
"If you learned to play a musical instrument as a kid, you likely remember your first encounter with traditional music notation. You remember being baffled by the symbols denoting quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes. Or the difficulty of reading notes located above or below the staff. The Western system of music notation goes back hundreds of years, and it has been befuddling students for generations." A piano teacher and a data visualization professional team up to create Hummingbird, a new system of music notation which claims to make sight reading "easier to learn, faster to read, and simpler for even the trickiest music." [Via]
Macroglossum stellatarum, known as the Hummingbird Hawk-moth or sometimes the Hummingmoth, is a species of Sphingidae (the family of moths that includes hawk moths, sphinx moths, and hornworms), and a beautiful example of convergent evolution.
Snoring Hummingbird (SLYT) Watch closely for sticky-outy tongue!
World Memory Champion Ben Pridmore can memorize a deck of playing cards in under 30 seconds. Sometimes he imagines elaborate, on-the-fly tales of absurdity to aid his memorization. One such story was brought to life by DJ Shadow (way previously) and a cast of thousands: Scale It Back (bonus, helpful recall of entire story at end of video)
The Rufous Hummingbird measures only 4-inches, but it can pack a lot of beauty into that small package. Often described as "feisty," it weighs just a little more than a penny. With a migratory range of 1500 km, the Rufous has the longest known avian migration proportional to its size.
Rescued hummingbird. (SLYT)
Phoebe, a non-migratory Channel Islands Allen's Hummingbird, has a live webcam and eggs that are hatching soon.
The annual northward migration is in full swing. The first time you see one on your feeder for the new season is cause for a big smile (maybe a little waving of arms). These little guys can weigh as little as a penny, yet will consume nearly twice their body weight every day. Have you guessed? Yes, it's a hummingbird flight of fancy. (Attenborough video) [more inside]
O: What sounds like a minature smoke alarm with a dying battery and has a tongue half as long as itself?