The reproduction of flowers starts with the transfer of pollen from flower to flower. In order to do this, certain vessels are required to transfer that pollen, and some reward is necessary to entice those vessels. From a dead seed, springs life that eventually develops attractive flowers that draw the attention of insects and hummingbirds, but within that flower lies a reward for unintentionally transferring the pollen from one flower to another, continuing the circle of life. Without the sweet drops of nectar that lie deep within the flower, there would be no desire for hummingbirds or insects to do the work.
This young male Ruby-throat is standing on the portion of the flower that contains up to 3 drops of sweet sucrose, essentially the same product we use in our hummingbird feeders to get their attention. Hummingbirds choose certain types of flowers because of the quantity and quality of nectar within them, while the colors provide an attraction that can be seen from long distances away.
I can't help but be amazed at how little weight hummingbirds have as this one perches on the flower supported by a fragile stem.
Juvenile Male Ruby-throat hummingbird. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August 2017.
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