Hummingbird Tongue

The kids were all dropped off at school. It was Monday morning. Phyllis and I were sitting in our kitchen with pads of legal paper planning our work schedule for the week. I looked up and saw this hummingbird in the camellia trees just outside our kitchen windows.

The hummingbird seemed to be sticking around, so I ran and got my camera with my 70-200mm Nikon VR lens. I added a telextender between the camera and the lens for a focal length of 400mm (600mm in 35mm equivalent terms).

It was a little preposterous to hand hold this enormous affair at 1/80 of a second, but I did (the version here is cropped in even a bit closer). No doubt, the image stabilization baked into the lens helped me out.

To really see the hummingbird tongue, check out the image larger.

After this exposure, Mr. Humminbird flicked his tongue out at me one last time, then flew away.

You may be interested to know that hummingbirds don’t suck nectar as if their tongue were a straw. They lap flower nectar up repeatedly, by flicking their long tongues in and out. This is sort of dog action, and not at all straw like, and falls under the category of things I never would have known without a live hummingbird and a telephoto lens.

This entry was posted in Bemusements, Photography.

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