Moth photo

The clearwing hummingbird moth, named for its most obvious features, can be mistaken easily for its avian counterpart.

September is here and after a midsummer lull, my local hummingbirds are back with a vengeance. They’re fighting over the feeders and seem to have staked out one of my hanging flower baskets as a primo snack dispenser. It’s mostly females right now; many of the adult males have already started their fall migration. One cool thing I have noticed over this late summer period was something that, out of the corner of my eye, I initially thought was one of those pugnacious little birds. In fact, it was something I see far less often, a hummingbird moth.

“Hummingbird moth” is a common term for a variety of sphinx moth species that behave much like hummingbirds. I’d seen one of them around in the daytime a few times, a pretty, smaller bug with a reddish-colored band around its midsection. This was a clearwing hummingbird moth, so named because of the see-through windows in its wings. It had a greenish color to its body, adding to the hummingbird illusion, but in broad daylight this was clearly a moth with a curled proboscis instead of a beak.

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