Life on the Wing

Dingy Hummer

Male Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) looking a little dingy as the summer draws to a close. We like to think of these little critters as cute and beautiful, but in reality they are wild animals living a tough life.

Migratory birds typically molt twice a year; once in the spring to put on bright, flashy breeding plumage and again in the fall to replace the now worn-out feathers with the typically less flashy winter plumage.

Birds with iridescent feathers seem to show the wear more than others. The green body feathers and red bib of this bird clearly show the wear and tear of life on the wing.

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