I received this observation and query, accompanied with a photo of  
the male Ruby-throated Hummingbird hanging upside down as described.

> Hi Edge
> My husband and I took the birding course with you last year at the  
> Ollie center.
> Yesterday evening, Jeff noticed a hummer hanging upside down on the  
> feeder with his tongue hanging out.  He stayed there quite a long  
> time.  Thinking he might be suffering from heat exhaustion, Jeff  
> brought out a tray of cold water and raised it up to touch the  
> hummer's tongue.  After a moment, the hummer flew away.  Do you  
> know of this behavior?  Did Jeff do the right thing?

  I've heard of hummers going into torpor--that is a reduced  
animation state involving lowered heartbeat and lowered body  
temperature--as a survival technique, but in cold weather.  Perhaps  
they can do it in heat, too.

All comments welcome.  Please post to the list.

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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