Saturday, June 14, 2008

Not a hummingbird

This photo was taken 18(!) years ago outside my door in Beijing. I saw this huge crazy thing hovering around the flower pot, sipping nectar just like a hummingbird. I couldn't wrap my head around it. It must be a hummingbird! But it's not! It's a bug!

I later discovered that it is one of a group of moths known collectively (and aptly) as hummingbird moths.

I was just talking about them the other day with Susan, who hates moths but who decided she might be OK with these mini-hummers. They're good pollinators whose caterpillars do not destroy your garden.

Just as my interest in bees resulted in my suddenly seeing them everywhere, a hummingbird moth captured my attention at dusk last night, sipping from the honeysuckle.
I had to use the flash, but of course the one time the wings and lens aligned, the flash didn't pop.
If you played What Is It? a couple of days ago, you'll recognize this fellow (gal?) at rest on my front door screen. I didn't know then that it was a hummer. This particular kind is a striped morning sphinx moth.
If you spot moths in the kitchen or linen closet, you're right to do whatever it takes to eradicate them, but be nice to the hummingbird moth. It helps your garden grow.


  1. Very nice blog dear Kitt!
    Kisses from Greece!

  2. Hi skoinovatis! Thanks! I love your flower photos.

  3. Great hummingbird moth photos. Thanks for posting them.

  4. You lived in Beijing!!! Eighteen years ago!!! One of the regrets of my life is that I have never lived in another country -- and China must have provided a wealth of experiences, culinary, cultural and others.

    Claire @

  5. When I saw your comment I shouted for my family like I won the lottery. Can you tell I'm a new blogger. Great poodle pic

  6. Thanks, gaia gardener!

    Claire, yes, I was there for three years. It was indeed an experience. And it's never too late! I know a number of people who went there to teach after they retired, including one gal who meant to go for just a semester and is now on her third year. She's 70 or thereabouts.

    Hi poodle friend! Glad to make your day ;-)

  7. I am glad you posted the links to all your amazing bug photos.... thank you@

  8. You're welcome! I think it's so cool you work at a butterfly farm.