Humming Bird Moth

Living deep in the wilderness, one never knows what one will see.   And this is especially true if one has an eagle-eyed boyfriend who is always on the watch for creatures of any kind.

The other night I lay in bed, reading in my bathrobe and about to turn off the light, when suddenly Jonathan yelled from the darkened kitchen.   “Trish, come here!” he cried.  Weary and skeptical, I loudly replied  “What!?”   “A hummingbird moth” he hollered back, with excitement in his voice.

What is he talking about??” I wondered as I clambered out of bed and scrambled to the back door where he stood.   “Look!” he instructed, and sure enough there it was, a hummingbird buzzing around in the porch light.  What was a hummingbird doing out at that hour?

“It’s a moth” he insisted, “a hummingbird moth”.   Surely enough, at close inspection I could see antennae and six legs, very un-bird-like apparati.   I watched the strange creature flit about the flowers in the lamp light then fly off around the house.   

Back inside I immediately began to research hummingbird moths.

Just like Hummingbirds, you can typically see it flying during the day in meadows, forest edges and flower gardens.  Hummingbird moths typically visit one flower for a very short time, then dart away to find another. With its clear wings, body shape and size (they have a wingspan of five or more inches), the Hummingbird Moth bears an uncanny resemblance to the Hummingbird.  Their fast, hovering wing action can sound like the buzz of a hummingbird’s wings, too.

The hummingbird moth will feed on a flower much like a hummingbird. But instead of a beak and tongue to lap the nectar, they have little straws called proboscis. They are kept curled under the head when not in use.

Hummingbird moths are found in Alaska and the Northwest Territories south through British Columbia to Oregon, east through the Great Plains and the Great Lakes area to Maine and Newfoundland, and south to Florida and Texas.

 These fascinating little moths are not considered a threat to gardens. In fact, they can be quite beneficial through pollination of many species of plants. To attract them to your garden, provide flowers with a strong, sweet scent and are white or pale in color. These garden varieties may attract several kinds of  beneficial moths, including the hummingbird and one that mimics the bumblebee.

Bumble Bee Moth

 Just like so many other fascinating creatures dwelling here in Natural Bridges, the Hummingbird Moth is well worth a second look…but you’d better make it quick!




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23 thoughts on “Look it’s a Hummingbird Moth”

  1. I saw my very first one last week in my hanging basket. Incredible, how much it looks like a hummingbird.

  2. I have just seen my first one in our backyard, here in Dartmouth NS. I took a picture and short video to show my co-workers and neighbours.

    I found your website while researching what it was. Thank you for creating this page to inform others about this beautiful little creature.

    1. Hi Alain. I am so happy I discovered this amazing moth as well. I can’t wait to see my first bumblebee moth!

  3. Just saw my first one here near Detroit, of all places. Thought it was a hummingbird but after taking some flash photos we can clearly see it’s a bug. So I looked up moth hummingbird and voila! Learned something new. I’d like to post the photo, but don’t know how. Suggestions?

    1. Hi Kenneth. Thanks for your comment. Where are you looking to post the photo? Did you take on your phone or digital camera?

  4. Oh My Gosh!

    So fascinating!!!! I never knew such creatures existed! So Amazing and the photography is amazing too!

    Thanks so much for sharing!!

    ~ Jupiter Jim

  5. Saw my first hummingbird moth yesterday.,, had no
    Idea what it was then googled it and found out
    It is not from around here we live in Moose Jaw Sask Canada

  6. I have seen these frequently here in Devon, England; amazing creatures 🙂 I enjoyed reading your post on them, I was looking for a picture to show my partner because she is in California right now and saw her first real hummingbird, so I wanted to tell her about these!

    1. Hi Harry. I never heard of them until I moved to Utah and saw them with my own eyes. I would have almost mistaken them for birds if I didn’t look closely enough. Hope your partner has the pleasure of seeing the moth as well!

  7. this was so amazing. nature is so full of surprises. the beauty of our planet lies in the diversity around us. thanks to your post, i learned about this moth. new to your blog, and was just basking in the beauty of the photographs on it. will get down to scouting around the blog now.

    ps – just saw this as i was about to post – you might want to look into what is wrong.
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  8. I just saw one of the hummingbird moths on a hike in the Saginaw Bay area in Michigan. It was amazing. I thought it was a hummingbird then when my wife and I got a closer look she noticed the legs and I noticed the antennae. That’s what makes hiking so much fun.

    1. Hi Darrell. I would have never known it was a moth either unless someone pointed it out to me. They are pretty amazing!

  9. just saw my first hummingbird moth today…beautful…and i even got to record it from my phone….Question….if i catch you think i could keep it alive by feeding and putting flowers in a large enclosure….

  10. Saw our first one last week down here in north Louisiana:) It was night time and was hovering around my lilies. Even came up to us and the dog as if checking us out as well. It visited again the next night. Could not deside if it was a big moth or little hummingbird. We were calling it a fairy ;)Googled it and got my answer 🙂 very cool! Haven’t seen it since.

  11. I’ve just seen my first one in Cape Town, South Africa. Apparently the African Hummingbird Hawk-moth (the one I found) migrates to the UK…. the mind boggles!!! Amazing, magical little things! 🙂

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