A while ago someone wrote me that hummingbirds have to learn how to feed from flowers, and it's so true. There are so many different shapes and sizes with so many different access points on each flower. Not only do the young birds poke at each and every flower in their early days, they have to solve the puzzle how to extract the nectar.
Imaged is a young Ruby Throat feeding from one of the simplest flowers to feed from, a Zinnia. They lick the pollen from the center button and also lick between the flower petals, sometimes revolving in circles around the flower between all the layers. What's so enticing to hummingbirds about these flowers is that the dinner plate can grow even bigger than they are. They stand out from all the other flowers with that large target and there's not much of a learning curve when it comes to solving such an easy flower.
N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta. 2007.
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.