Ultraviolet World

July 27, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

Ultraviolet WorldUltraviolet World


Being sequestered does have some advantages.  Instead of seeking new photo opportunities away from home, I decided to focus on my immediate surroundings.

I have learned a lot about ruby throated hummingbirds which started showing up about 4 weeks ago.  

Although there are over 300 species of hummingbirds in the world, less than 10 of these show up in the US.  To begin with, their eggs are about the size of a jelly bean.  When they grow up they weigh only about 3 grams - - about 2/3's  the weight of a US nickel.

They are aerial acrobats and are the only bird I know of that can fly forward, backward, sideways, straight up and even upside down.  They even have been known to do backward somersaults.  Any wonder why they are difficult to photograph!!

The ruby color on their throat is not a result of feather color, but a result of iridescence from sunlight.

While most wildlife finds food based on scent, these little birds rely on their eyesight.  As published in the New York Time on 6/19/20, here is something related to their eyesight discovered only recently.

"Hummingbirds were already impressive. They move like hurried insects, turn on aerial dimes and extract nectar from flowers with almost surgical precision. But they conceal another talent, too: seeing colors that human eyes can’t perceive.

Ultraviolet light from the sun creates colors throughout the natural world that are never seen by people. But researchers working out of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory reported on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that untrained broad-tailed hummingbirds can use these colors to help them identify sources of food."

That's the hummingbird lesson of the day.  I hope you enjoyed the photo and the information.





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