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Yesterday afternoon during a hard downpour I watched a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird in the back yard. She perched on the phone wire first, and what caught my attention was that she kept her head and beak pointed straight up. After four or five minutes she moved to a slightly more sheltered spot in the dogwood, and stayed for at least ten minutes, until the rain let up. All the while she sat with beak straight up. It reminded me of the camouflaged position bitterns will take, with neck stretched out and beak pointed upward like a reed or stick, and I wonder if the hummingbird was doing the same thing. But I've never seen a hummingbird do it before, and I can't really even think of a time I've seen a hummingbird make any effort to be inconspicuous. And if it is intended to be a camouflage, it can't be very effective because unlike a bittern, a hummingbird with beak up still looks, even at a casual glance, exactly like a hummingbird.

 

But I can't really think of any other good reason to stare straight up into falling rain. Any ideas?

 

Dave Scheu

St. Louis, MO

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