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Hummingbird Mistakes Scarlet Yarn for a Flower

W. Lee Chambers
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
18
Issue: 
5 (September-October)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1916
Pages: 
202

Hummingbird Mistakes Scarlet Yarn for a Flower

On a recent trip to a favorite canyon in quest of hummingbirds, I discovered that someone had been picnicing there and had tied bits of scarlet yarn as danger signals on the poison oak bushes in the vicinity. I noted a female hummingbird, apparently the Black-chinned, repeatedly trying to extract honey from these bits of yarn. This was new to me, and at first I thought she might be hunting for building material. On close observation, however, I concluded that the bright color fooled the bird, and that she expected to find some new kind of nectar.

W. Lee Chambers

Eagle Rock, California

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