Friday, February 19, 2010

Hummingbirds of Costa Rica 1/15/10 Part 1

hummingbird croped

At around 6:00 am in Costa Rica the hummingbirds would begin appearing for their morning nectar. The sun was just beginning to rise and spread its rays out to cover the mountain side.

videoing hummingbirds

To capture my experience, I gathered my tripod, HD camera, and journal. Each different hummingbird announced its arrival with the loud humming sound created by the rapid beating of its wings. The hummingbirds continued coming for approximately an hour.

Hummingbird croped 2

The large bright red flowers of Etlingera elatior seemed to pull hummingbirds out of the skies. The sweet nectar was simply irresistible! The various hummingbirds first hovered above the flower for inspection and then suddenly dove in beak first. As the hummingbirds tongue probed the flower for nectar, its tail bobbed up and down creating a comical sight.

beak 1 beak 2

Above are two different beak lengths I observed. Both the short and long beaked hummingbirds drank nectar from the Etlingera elatior flowers. Notice also how both beaks are slightly curved instead of exactly straight. During my research of hummingbirds I learned that hummingbirds not only drink nectar, but also eat insects for protein. They need plenty of energy to fuel their energetic bodies! Building nests and raising young is a lot of work.

hummingbird eggs

Watching hummingbirds and later seeing a tiny hummingbird nest with eggs inside were the highlight of my day. The tiny nest had been carefully crafted with bits of lichen, plant bits, and the soft bedding that lined the nest was hair! The question is was the hair from a human, horse, or cattle?

Angel's Trumpet Flower hat

The next interesting flower I saw is called Angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia suaveolens). I can understand why it received the name because its size is very large and the flower is funnel shaped. Using it as a trumpet is not suggested because it is poisonous! The giant flower does make a nice hat though. The flowers were also very attractive to the bees. They buzzed around the flowers then landed to begin the journey to gather nectar.

My morning in Costa Rica was filled with delightful sounds and wonders that I can not begin to describe. As I watched the hummingbirds, I also listened to the sounds of Macaws in the distance and smelled the fragrance of flowers in the air. This article would not be complete without giving God the glory for His beautiful creation He allowed me to experience!

Psalm 19:1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.



  1. Wow, those are amazing photographs, Elizabeth! Seeing those hummingbirds and that adorable nest would have made my day too! I love your closing paragraph. What an amazing world we live in!

  2. Hey Elizabeth!
    Beautifully written and gorgeous photo of the eggs --they're so magnificent and smart! I wonder if you have the original audio without the music? I'm curious to what the environment surrounding noise sounded like, since I am able to hear it through the headphones. Especially the wings flapping! :-0 I'm jealous you're going back! hahaha. Where will you be venturing off to next?