An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Wild Columbine & Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

5-16-13 wild columbine158Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) is in full flower, and its design and color beckon to a recently-returned migrant that is attracted to red as well as tubular flowers – the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Not only does the flowering of Wild Columbine coincide with the arrival of hummingbirds in May, but the ranges of these two species are much the same. Wild Columbine’s five petals are in the shape of spurs, the tips of which contain nectar. Only hummingbirds and long-tongued bees can reach the nectar, and thus are its primary pollinators (there is a short-tongued bumblebee that tears open the tip of the spur in order to reach the nectar). While the hummingbird hovers beneath the flower and drinks nectar, its head rubs against Columbine’s long anthers, and the resulting pollen on the hummingbird’s head is brushed off onto the long styles of the next (Columbine) flower it visits, thereby pollinating it.

3 responses

  1. michelle saurette

    hello MaryThanks for this. I though I would share with you our world of humming birds. We get over 200 of these little wonders each year. We have been feeding them with feeders and I grow a perennial garden of many flowers, the 2 huge old crab apple tree on this home stead are in bloom as we speak. So all in all the humming birds around us are very sweet.Please check out images I posted on my web site to enjoy more great shots. thanks for being a nature nut like usMichelle

    Date: Thu, 16 May 2013 10:42:51 +0000 To:

    May 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    • 200! Amazing! You have some beautiful photographs on your site. Many thanks.

      May 16, 2013 at 6:28 pm

  2. Pat Nelson

    Mary, please see a message I sent to Naturally Curious on Facebook. I included a photo, but there is also an inquiry about a possible speaking engagement in NH. I wasn’t sure how else to reach you by email without it being a public comment. Thanks!

    May 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm

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