Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Hummingbird Tongues

Posted by terrepruitt on June 18, 2009

So my friend who writes Zebra Sounds included the fact that hummingbirds have tongues in a post recently.  I learned this after having watched them at our feeders (about 10 years ago).  I had always thought that they used their beak as a straw, so imagine my surprise when I caught a tongue in a picture.



I was looking through my pictures for the tongue picture for her post — but we didn’t communicate well enough for her to actually use it, but in trying to find it for her, it got me looking at more of my hummingbird pictures.

Since I am not a professional photographer, I just have to sit there and take picture after picture and hope I end up with a good one.  Sometimes I do.

I will try to learn more about hummingbirds and I will continue to take pictures and probably post more of some I have already taken.  I have a lot.  They fascincate me.  And just like our other birds, since we live in San Jose and our weather is warmer for a longer season, we have birds around for six to seven months.


For now:

Their hearts beat about 21 times per second, their wings 55 – 75 times per second.  They weight 1/10 of an ounce.  They can feed on up to 1000 flowers a day.  The hummingbird tongue licks up nectar at the rate of 13 licks per second.   And they do eat insects.

Somewhat unrelated, to these pictures, I just wanted to mention, yesterday I was outside taking pictures and working out and one flew right up to me, within arm’s reach and just hovered where I was kneeling.  I think they are a very curious bird.  Maybe they are almost as curious about us as we are about them?




I want to remind my awesome readers that my pictures are all mine.  I take them all myself and it is not cool at all to steal them.

13 Responses to “Hummingbird Tongues”

  1. judy said

    I LOVE this post. Not just for the amazing pictures (and they are) and the cool hummingbird facts (you know how I am about cool facts), but for this statement: “Since I am not a professional photographer, I just have to sit there and take picture after picture and hope I end up with a good one.” So often when we don’t do things (take pictures, draw, write, even excercise… can you say Nia?) it’s because we think we can’t. And we think all the people who can were born with their talents. We assume that, for everyone else, it comes naturally. Seriously, Terre, your pictures are so good; it’s a wonderful reminder that most often, success comes from a lot of hard work and diligence, not just being born the most gifted.

    Officially my favorite Terre Pruitt post EVER!


    • You are so funny. What a great cheerleader you are.

      I used to be really bummed that I would take hundreds of pictures and MAYBE one would be acceptable, but . . . I watched something once where a nature photographer was talking and he said he took THOUSANDS of pictures just to get one good one. I used to see that one good one and think it was the talent alone of the photographer, but it is also patience. That one great shot I was looking at was probably one of THOUSANDS. But I still understand that it would be better if I knew how to set all the settings on the camera.

      Recently I was taking hummingbird photos and all you see is a blur. Really, there is nothing but a blur, they are soooooo fast. I just read one thing that say their wings can beat up to 200 beats per second when they are in “dive mode.”

      Thank you so much for your comment.


  2. I can’t help but think of Gene Simmons and hear “God of Thunder” whenever I see these pics. You are a great photographer!


    • No, not really (a great photographer) just lucky. But if you watch them (hummingbirds) they stick out their tongues a lot. Maybe it is part of the way they smell? I love our hummingbirds. Thanks for always making sure they are well fed!


  3. Terre,
    Thanks for stopping in to see me today for Judy’s Q&A. I mentioned loving this picture in my answer.
    do you mind if I embed a link to it?
    Come back anytime.
    Karen 🙂


    • Hi,
      Thank you for stopping by. I wish there was more time in the day so I could read everyone’s blogs all the time!

      Yes, you can link to it (is this something new you learned to do and now you are a “mad-woman” about it?)—Just kidding, I thought I remember you saying you just learned to embed links.

      I got lucky to get that tongue. It must be at full length, do you think?


  4. I just love cool pictures…and yes….now that I have a new skill…embedding links….I want to use it TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD….no….no….to point people to cool things when they come up in the comment thread. Thanks for the permission.

    Loved loved loved the geeze louise. come see what I said about it.

    Karen 🙂


  5. Awesome pictures! Waiting 2 more months for mine to return!

    Liked by 1 person

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