Hummingbirds as Pollinators

Hummingbirds serve as very important pollinators. The hummingbird’s ability as a pollinator is often said to be quite comparable to that of the bee. This post will explain why the hummingbird is such a vital pollinator.

Hummingbirds are such vital pollinators are because honeybees (European in origin) are in a state of decline.

So, I will not explain how hummingbirds pollinate. The act of pollination occurs while the hummingbird is feeding and the bird thrust its bill deep into a flower, collecting pollen on their bill and feathers. As a result, at each subsequent flower the bird visits, it leaves a little pollen and picks up some new, spreading pollen from flower to flower. The seeds and fruits resulting from their endeavors later feed other birds and mammals which then distribute the seeds to help create the next plant generation.

It is due to the hummingbird’s long, tubular bill, its unique hovering skills, and the ability to fly backward and even upside-down, the hummingbird has the unsurpassed ability to pollinate plants with long, tubular blossoms. This is quite important because the shape of these type blossoms makes it difficult for some bees and other larger pollinators to reach the pollen deep within the flower. Therefore, without the aid of the hummingbird many of these plants or flowers would not survive. Scientists even believe that our native tubular-flowered Penstemons, sages (Salvias), columbines, and certain other native plants, have evolved together with the hummingbirds, thus enhancing each others’ likelihood of survival.

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