This photo of an apparent female Ruby-throated Hummingbird reveals her tongue as she approaches a feeder. Photo taken on 16 September 2000 by Kenneth Myron Bonnell at Greenville, Mississippi.


In southern Georgia, Janis Abney was relaxing in her backyard on 26 August 2002 when she saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (either a female or young male) acting oddly in the vicinity of her hummer feeder. She looked more closely and found that the bird had a large bumblebee impaled on its bill. The bird apparently had been in this predicament for some time because it was weak enough that Janis's husband Monty was able to slowly walk up to the bird and capture it by hand. He removed the bee (with a surprising amount of difficulty), but the bird appeared to have expired during the process. Monty examined it more carefully and detected some faint signs of life; not knowing what else to do, he did just the right thing by sticking the bird's bill into the hummingbird feeder. The bird's tongue started to move slowly, and soon the hummingbird was drinking avidly. After several minutes, it was "recharged," and the Abneys let the hummer go, apparently none the worse for wear. Photo courtesy Mark Abney and Clyde Soresnson. (See "What to do with an Injured Hummingbird.")

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