I promise I am not trying to be hyperbolic when I say that this has got to be one of the most interesting things you will see today - not all week, month, or year, but definitely today. I feel confident saying that because, despite being spotted right here in Evansville, Indiana, this beautiful creature is rarely seen in person. How rare? How about the fact that I am 46 doggone years old and I have never seen one? Heck, I didn't even know this thing was even a thing - so, this is extra exciting for me. Let me introduce you to the hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird Moth
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

Is It a Bird or an Insect?

Almost everything about it suggests it is a hummingbird - its shape, the way it flies and hovers over flowers, the "hum" sound that its wings make, and even the way it eats and drinks. It is not a bird, however, it is a big ol' moth. Hummingbird moths can also sometimes be confused for bumblebees, which makes sense too.

You'd Be Lucky to See One in Person

Although hummingbird moths are fairly common throughout North America, they are, apparently, not commonly seen. I don't think I've ever seen one before this video, but I do think it's possible to see one and not realize that's what you're seeing. There is certainly a chance that I've seen a hummingbird moth, but just assumed it was a "regular" hummingbird - which is a cool experience every time, by the way.

Hummingbird Moth
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

How to Tell Them Apart

Sure, the hummingbird moth and hummingbird share a lot of similarities, but they have even more differences. Now that you know there are some flying around Evansville, here are some ways to differentiate between the two. [thespruce.com]

  • Size: hummingbird moths are smaller, about half the size, of hummingbirds.
  • Antennae: hummingbird moths have long antennae - hummingbirds do not.
  • Mouth/Bill: hummingbirds have a long, pointy bill, whereas hummingbird moths do not have a bill at all. The moth's mouth is longer and is curled up when they aren't using it.
  • Legs: the hummingbird moth is an insect, so it's gonna have six legs - the hummingbird is a bird, so it's gonna have two legs. A hummingbird's legs are tucked away during flight, but the moth's legs, especially towards the front, are much more noticeable.

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Do you think you've ever seen a hummingbird moth? I bet you'll be on the lookout for them now, won't you? Next time you see a hummingbird, you're gonna stop and give it a second look, aren't you? You know what else you're gonna do? You're gonna think of me, and that makes me smile. Haha!

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