Hummingbirds and Pollination

National Pollinator Week is coming to an end and it seems pollinators could use more than a week of recognition.  They certainly deserve it.

Did you know that the Hummingbird is part of the helpful pollinator family?  Hummingbirds are very small light weight birds weighing less than a penny!  Their diet can include eating small insects such as gnats or ants but flower nectar is a major staple in their diet.  Next time you see a hummingbird, take notice of their long beaks which houses an even longer tongue.  Their thin beaks and long tongue allow them to feed on flowers that other pollinators just cannot reach. Hummingbirds tend to be attracted to flowers that have long tube shapes and red and pink colored flowers. When a hummingbird is drinking nectar their tongue is lapping it up, able to lap 13 times per second! That’s quick drinking!

As the hummingbird inserts its long beak into a flower there is pollen grains that are sticky and attach to the side of the beak.  As the hummingbird is visiting numerous flowers throughout the day those sticky grains of pollen are transferred and left on other flowers.  The pollination will occur if both flowers are of the same species.