Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Amazing Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

Last night, I took my son for a quick nature walk after dinner to the Ojibway Prairie Reserve in West Windsor and was delighted to find a Hummingbird Clearwing Moth! (I ended up seeing 3 actually) I had first heard about this beautiful insect from Josh Vandermeulen's blog (from a few years ago). When I read about it on Josh's blog, I was blown away because... I had never even seen a photo of one or even knew of its existence! More and more though, I have heard people on the Essex Natures Sightings page and even just discussions with co-workers telling me they have them in their backyard.

Hummingbird clearwing Moth on Wild Bergamot

Tonight, I went back after dinner to the same pathway [link] and sure enough, found another Hummingbird Moth along the Titcombe Pathway which features large patches of Wild Bergamot flowers. I was wondering if these flowers were invasive, (because they're so pervasive) and was happy to see that they are indeed native flowers. The natives used this plant for medicine to treat colds and sore throats... good stuff!

Its cool to watch this moth hover and sip nectar (see bonus video below). It seems to just have enough lift from its wing-flapping to keep it hovering, but then it seem to lean on the flowers it is feeding on with its two front legs. I flies like a hummingbird, its abdomen is reminiscent of a shrimp or lobster and the colouring of olive green, off-white and redish-burgundy are really unique. I probably have walked by this insect in the past and just assumed it was a very large bee!

If you're from Windsor and would like specific directions, I would be happy to give more information about seeing this moth. This was an exciting discovery! I've said it before and I'll say it again... Nature is the greatest show on earth!

Good birding!

Some bonus video:


  1. Awesome find Dwayne! And great shots! You really nailed them - I'm sure that was not easy with an active subject at close range.
    I've seen one many years ago in Pinery Provincial Park. At first I thought I was being approached by a mutant bee. My memory is that they buzz quite loudly.

  2. This is amazing Dwayne! I've never heard of these before, but now it's certainly on my list to see!



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