“There was something flying around the flowers in my garden. Its wings were moving so fast, but it looked too small to be a hummingbird. Do you know what it was?”
Our patron brought in a picture of the little creature they saw in the garden. It looked plump and soft to the touch, with a green and red body and a white underbelly. Its wings were a blur. It appeared to have antennae and a proboscis, so we looked for it in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders and found it in the moth section.
Our patron’s garden visitor was a hummingbird moth. It’s a member of the moth family that’s active during the day and can be seen from May to September. The hummingbird moth uses its long tongue to feed on nectar from long-necked flowers. Its wings beat so fast that it can produce a hum, still audible but softer than an actual hummingbird’s. According to the U.S. Forest Service website, the moth that our patron saw was a hummingbird clear wing, distinguishable by its red color.