It’s a bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a… Moth?

Meet the hummingbird moth. A delightful example of adaptation and evolution in a species.

This insect not only looks and emits the audible humming that denominates the bird it replicates but also mirrors the hummingbirds movements.

Remember that time you saw a hummingbird? Well, chances are it could have been a hummingbird moth.

On the balcony of my apartment are several potted flowers and every so often they attract some interesting wildlife. The other day while listening to some records with my boyfriend Mark, I saw something zipping around the flowers. I jumped up with excitement and rushed towards the sliding door to investigate.

I slowly opened the sliding door and without blinking, stared at my petunias. After looking around without anything in sight, I sighed with disappointment and rested my arm on the railing next to the petunias. Out of nowhere the mysterious creature zipped up and flew away as if it was never there.

Hummingbird Moth at Butterfly Bush

Snowberry clearwing moth, photo courtesy of JillLang,
Hummingbird flying next to purple flower
Calliope Hummingbird, photo courtesy of encrier,

Was this a dream? Was I losing my mind? Honestly, my mind has been lost for years but after returning indoors Mark mentioned that it was probably a hummingbird moth.

A hummingbird moth? My mind desperately tried processing these two words together but it just didn’t make sense.

Struck with amazement, bewilderment and fascination, I frantically looked online to see if this creature was real.

Unlike most moths, hummingbird moths are diurnal creatures, are rather plump and use a curled proboscis to suck up nectar as they hover over flowers. Another way to identify these moths is with two distinct antennae and 2 extra pairs of legs.

Whether you want to attract hummingbirds or their doppelgangers, you can add plants to your garden to help attract either species, including: Bee balm, Phlox, Honeysuckle, verbena, red clover, and wild roses.

I guarantee that this addition to your garden will attract a sense of wonderment that in years past would have been thought to be part of the fairy realm.

Featured image: Hummingbird Moth, courtesy of joel-t,

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