I’m a Field Biologist, who specializes in Hummingbirds, I’m also a Conservation Photographer, I’ve been doing research and photography in the tropics for over tens year, mostly in Costa Rica and Panama.

This upcoming year I’ll be traveling again to Costa Rica to work on a multi-year project I co-founded in Northern Costa Rica. We look at the site fidelity of Neotropical migrants, habitat usage of resident birds, and Hummingbird populations.

I have been working hard to use Social Media, as a platform to bring greater awareness to Research, Conservation, and Science.

I wanted to take this opportunity to showcase some of my work and talk to people about the research and photography.

Recent articles: http://www.audubon.org/news/mites-take-flight-hummingbird-beaks http://www.audubon.org/news/these-vivid-bird-photographs-nearly-fly-screen http://www.biographic.com/posts/sto/golden-eye

Proof: Twitter account @GourmetScience

You can find out more about me and my work below:
https://www.instagram.com/gourmetbiologist/ https://seangraesserphotos.photoshelter.com/ https://www.facebook.com/sean.graesser

Comments: 1298 • Responses: 78  • Date: 

PENNST8alum960 karma

Are you an expert in Bird Law by any chance?

gourmetbiologist1121 karma

I am, but can't practice in Philadelphia.

monjoe110 karma

Is it legal to own a hummingbird in the United States?

gourmetbiologist255 karma

It is not, very illegal

LigerZer051 karma

What about two hummingbirds who are fond of one another?

gourmetbiologist47 karma

Well I mean in the wild that's encouraged. The males need to be fond of the females

Migicar52 karma

Is there a dick move in bird culture?

gourmetbiologist102 karma

Yeah flushing birds while others are trying to watch them or photograph them, is def a dickish move. Also showing up, blasting metal music at a quiet bird walk can be frowned upon in some circles.

samschurk571 karma

How do you get such a nice, even black background in so many of your up-close shots? I wonder that every time I see one of your Instagram photos-- you're one of my favorite accounts, as a young ecologist and photographer.

gourmetbiologist538 karma

It depends on the photos but usually using multiple corss angle flashes in a very low setting with very larger diffusers, or using specialized black felt that counters the flash. So usually I'm lugging a lot of gear into the field, everything I photograph is in the field, not a lab or anything.

SaxophoneGuy24494 karma

Outside my house, there seems to be one or two hummingbirds guarding all of our hummingbird feeders. Is there anything we can do to help more hummingbirds have access to sugar water? And is there anything we can do to attract more hummingbirds?

gourmetbiologist704 karma

So Males are really good at patrolling one or two feeders, making it so no other Hummingbirds use those feeders. Putting out more feeders will decrease the competition, so he can no longer dominate the feeder. Or separating the feeders so they can't be seen by the individual can also work.

LonerStonerRoamer614 karma

I have a hummingbird I call Douchebird who does this. He's a little snot!

billy4c165 karma

My 5 yo daughter named the little guy who fights of all the other hummingbirds “Guarder”.

gourmetbiologist164 karma

Good name

orangejulius391 karma

Is putting sugar water in a hummingbird feedto attract them to my garden a good thing for them or am I just giving them the human equivalent of a ton of birthday cake?

What's your most exciting experience been in the field?

gourmetbiologist496 karma

This is the normal way people attract them, they are usually searching out for sources that give them similar nutrients, similar to sugar water. So you're providing a source of food, which can be vital in some areas, depending on your location.

pookiespy203 karma

My hummingbirds love my home made nectar with one part raw sugar and four parts water. They finish it so fast I clean and refill every two to three days. Do you recommend anything else as nectar? EDIT: I use organic cane sugar and TIL should just use plain white sugar. Here's a video of me trying to hand feed them but no luck yet. https://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=DmzCxb3gro4&u=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3D-rmTHTx6bDU%26feature%3Dshare

gourmetbiologist252 karma

That's the magic sauce. Sounds like you've got some happy Hummingbirds.

millenialsoups73 karma

Does the red dye in the store-bought stuff actually make them sick?

gourmetbiologist193 karma

It does, it's been shown to create bill rot, then leaving the birds unable to feed.

eemes42 karma

My mamaw has a ton of hummingbirds visiting her feeders lately, should she swap over to sugar water instead of the premade mix for their health? Also, I saw someone mention using 1:4 raw sugar mixture, is there anything else that to add to this mixture to help get them some extra nutrients?

gourmetbiologist79 karma

That is the secret the 1/4 mixture. Is she using stuff that has red dye in it? If so it's probably not healthy for them

analogpursuits69 karma

I've noticed that sometimes if a feeder is left out too long, it begins to develop mold. Is this mold harmful to hummingbirds? I don't keep a feeder, this was from a time when I house-sat for friends.

gourmetbiologist185 karma

So yes mold is not a good sign, also Hummingbirds will no longer visit the feeder after a day or two if you don't switch out the sugar water. They don't enjoy cloudy looking sugar water, I know quite picky of them.

sloppyharp179 karma

Here in central Va., the hummers were late arrivals by a month it seemed. Now they appear to be leaving early. What's going on? Mother Nature, I'm sure?

gourmetbiologist254 karma

It seem's like a lot of people are telling me about erratic migrations of Ruby-thoarts this year, I'm sure the strange weather effecting their feeding sources has something to do with it. I will be very interested to see what numbers look like from banding this year, and my own observations of them in Costa Rica come November

streamweasel28 karma

What would you say is the best place in Costa Rica for humming birds? I need a good excuse to go back there.

gourmetbiologist75 karma

I think Monteverde is a pretty impressive location for Hummingbirds.

tiedyedvortex169 karma

According to Aztec mythology, warriors who served the sun god Huizilopochtli turn into hummingbirds when they die.

How do you think an Aztec warrior would react to the work you do?

gourmetbiologist302 karma

Well, I'm hoping they'd make me their leader since I'm a friend to the Hummingbirds. Hopefully, there is some sort of crown I'd get.

DownForever160 karma

We live in southern Michigan, and we just started getting hummingbirds this year since we bought a feeder. We absolutely love them. When I was a kid in elementary school, a teacher once told us about a story where they found a hummingbird that had rammed its beak into the chest of a fox, killing them both. Have you ever heard of anything like that happening? Would they or could they ever attack a human or a small animal? They are cute but man are they aggressive and territorial when tested.

Here's a picture I took of one this year in the back yard, for fun. :)


gourmetbiologist144 karma

Awesome picture! love the contrast.

I think that might be a bit of an old wives tale. I have seen Hummingbirds empale each other, well I've seen a specimen of it, but never a larger animal. They are for sure aggresive though, their aerial battles with one another are something to see.

xXS3VENXx143 karma

This is going to sound rude, but I think it's the easiest way for me to say it so I hope you understand what I mean, why should I care about hummingbirds?

gourmetbiologist283 karma

Well, the argument can always be made, why care about any other species but ourselves. With a species like Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the only species found on the east coast, it's an important pollinator. Creating growth of native species of flowers, that play a role in the pollination availability for bees. Those bees that pollinate our crops, so if you were to not care and eliminate Hummingbirds they could negatively affect, our food industry, only one example.

xXS3VENXx130 karma

Thanks! I really wasn't trying to troll I knew you'd have a great answer for this, and I hadn't seen it asked so I went for it. I like to ask people the "jerk" questions as they often provide the best information. Source: I once asked a particularly clever math teacher why I should care about math, was quickly put in my place.Had a new respect for him and math after that.

gourmetbiologist123 karma

Glad you asked, somebody's gotta do it.

bradiation136 karma

Hi! I'm also a hummingbird biologist, and this is a great (not rude) question! Justifying what we research is something that every scientist should think about and be able to say.

I'd just like to add a few less tangible points. Maybe they will resonate with some people, maybe not. /u/gourmetbiologist has already pointed out the potential economic impact of hummingbird conservation, BUT there's also...

  1. Taxonomic importance: The hummingbird group is unique to the New World. It is also incredibly diverse, the 2nd most diverse bird taxon, at ~330-340 species. Most of that biodiversity is in South America (especially Ecuador), but even the comparative handful of species we have the US represent a truly unique product of evolution.

  2. Research and Development: Hummingbirds are super unique in their flight and metabolic physiology. Some truly extraordinary research is being done into their flight mechanics that could influence future human flight technology (look into the work of Doug Altshuler) and their diet of sugar-rich resources has implications for diabetes research (see Hargrove 2005).

  3. Conservation and connection to wildlife: This is a bit more of a personal anecdote, but after studying hummingbirds for a while now I've found that their potential for "flagship" species, so to speak, for connecting wildlife to everyday normal people is huge. Many, many people love hummingbirds, and connecting those birds to patterns and processes in nature can really expand a person's appreciation for wildlife. People get SO INTO seeing hummingbirds up close when I am banding them, and it's such a great opportunity to connect with people and discuss issues both relating to hummingbirds, or to conservation at a broader scale. That connection, sitting on a porch next to a feeder surrounded by the public, is just something you can't replicate if you're studying a more iconic conservation animal like large mammals.

gourmetbiologist94 karma

Love the 3 one, I think that is where I try to make my greatest strides as well, thus my reason for using the social media monster to communicate with a much more general audience about science and conservation. Hummingbirds seem to resonate with people, so drawing them in and then talking about conversation issues, is something I strive for as well. Thanks for the extra gusto to my response.

collaredzeus133 karma

My father in law has a feeder that has been frequented by an all white hummingbird, how rare are "albino" hummingbirds?

gourmetbiologist154 karma

They are not very common and have caused quite a stir in the ornithological field. Albino Hummingbirds seem to draw in large crowds to see them. Was this the famous one out west this summer, I believe in California?

collaredzeus75 karma

He lives in Raleigh, NC.

gourmetbiologist105 karma

Very cool, I'm sure that was quite an individual to watch. Did he have bird enthusiast wanting to see it?

kalinako119 karma

What was the most awe-inspiring moment you've had while in the field?

gourmetbiologist337 karma

I think the first time I went to the tropics, it still stands out. I had wanted to go to the rainforest since I was a little kid. The first morning I opened the door, a toucan flew into a tree and parrots were squawking loudly, I knew this is what I wanted to see all the time.

Son_of_Kong71 karma

By "flew into," do you mean perched on, or collided with?

gourmetbiologist159 karma

Hahaha landed in a nearby palm tree. I think a toucan doing a kamikaze dive within my first minutes might have been negative.

blackbirdpie96 karma

what is your favourite hummingbird?

billy4c56 karma

Is there anything in particular that you like about them? (Other than the adorable black crest?)

gourmetbiologist87 karma

They're just a beautiful species that doesn't often get encountered.

kajnbagoat5 karma

Thanks for doing this. Your photos of the hummies are awesome. What's your other favourite bird /animal?

gourmetbiologist6 karma

Probably a Curl-crested Aracari

JohnSearle85 karma

Dude... why do the hummingbirds at my folks house attack me? They dive bomb my ears and are so brave!

gourmetbiologist138 karma

Yes could be the color of the clothing you're wearing or you might have been near their nest, they tend to be quite brave.

Alice_Connell58 karma

I, too, am a budding conservationist striving for a career doing research (currently undergoing my masters). Having been to the Peruvian Amazon where I collected data on butterfly species for my undergraduate thesis, I'm particularly interested in birds, especially those of the neotropics. Your Instagram page is wonderful and your pictures are very inspiring

How did you get involved with working with neotropic migrants, as this is an ambition of mine?

gourmetbiologist53 karma

I got involved working with Neotropical migrants, through the Institue for Bird Populations. They have a long-running program of doing research on-site fidelity sites throughout central and South America. I've been co-running stations in Costa Rica where we net them and look at their long-term site fidelity and habitat usage.

Alice_Connell30 karma

Do you take on interns at any of the stations? I would love to get involved and gain orthnithology-related experience when I finish my masters in February

analogpursuits56 karma

Thank you for this AMA!! Do the flowers that hummingbirds feed from affect the color of the feathers? Also, I had once snapped a photo of one and in the picture, the wings were up, but the shadow of the wing was pointed down on the wall behind it. Do you often have this happen in your photos? Obviously shutter speed was a factor, I just thought it was a neat occurrence.

gourmetbiologist83 karma

The flowers they eat do not affect their coloration, Hummingbird feather color is all based on structure, so it's light reflecting off of the feathers. It sounds like the wings were beating so fast the shutter caught the backswing, that's pretty neat.

DongleNocker49 karma

How many humming birds would it take to carry a one pound coconut across the English Channel?

gourmetbiologist44 karma

So species range from the 3 to 11-gram range, so I'll let you do the math.

amayernican49 karma

I recently moved to Louisiana and I have the biggest crate myrtle I've ever seen in my back yard and it was swarming with humming birds until recently. I would love for them to come back and get closer to me next year.

What are the best things to do to get a healthy population of humming birds in my back yard next season?

gourmetbiologist93 karma

If you were to plant a variety of native flowers that will bloom, in Spring, Summer, and Fall, you can create a year-long feeding source for them. Supplement that with a couple of feeders in the flower beds, and you have a Hummingbird all you can eat buffet.

Geruvah45 karma

Bees have started to swarm the hummingbird feeders and scaring away the little guys. What can I do to prevent bees from taking their feeding spot?

gourmetbiologist48 karma

They do sell feeders that have bee guards on them, how often are you changing out the sugar water ?

lemonlioness13 karma

So glad for this AMA! How often should the water be changed? What else can we do in the midwest to help? (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky)

gourmetbiologist25 karma

I would say you should try and change it every 2-3 Days, depending on how many you have visiting. They tend to not feed once the water becomes cloudy.

fotosintesis30 karma

What's your go-to trivia when it comes to bird and humminbird?

gourmetbiologist60 karma

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds weigh less than a penny.

Star-spangled-Banner30 karma

In your scientific opinion, is a jackdaw a crow?

gourmetbiologist61 karma

I went to school with him actually.

KameraadLenin10 karma

You went to school with Unidan??

gourmetbiologist14 karma

Yup, we did.

freebird444628 karma

How do you get such detailed picture of hummingbirds...are they in the lab/wild, camera traps, etc? You're pictures are incredible! Also..is there a video/audio link or is this all just text Q and A?

gourmetbiologist34 karma

They are all wild individuals, I use a variety of Macro lenses.

Only text Q and A, sorry about that

Potecuta21 karma

For a long time I thought hummingbirds are native to warmer climates, but recently I've seen some at my grandparents house (tons of flowers) and wasn't sure at first if they really are hummingbirds.

Do you have any ideas what species live in my area? This was happening in Piatra Neamț, România. It's near the mountains and above the 45th parallel.

Thank you :D

gourmetbiologist39 karma

I'm gonna guess it might be a species of moth. Hummingbirds are only found in the Americas.

Potecuta27 karma

In classic "google it" fashion, you were right. It's a moth, Macroglossum stellatarum to be more exact. If not for your AmA I would've never bothered to Google this. Thanks :D

gourmetbiologist18 karma

I was figuring there had to be, there are a few moth species here in North America, that sure can trick an observer.

Henesgfy20 karma

Hi there, and thanks for doing this AMA. I have been fascinated by Hummingbirds and am very excited to hear your insights. My question is, how do you think climate change and this year's storm seasons are affecting the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds?

gourmetbiologist23 karma

I do think it could be playing a role in it, I think with everything with bird migration there are a lot of contributing factors. Some of the birds that are not as well prepared or fit might have a tougher time finding stopover sites to feed at this year. They use the same routes every year and might find that some of their gas stations are no longer in service. I'm going to be very intrigued to see what the numbers are like once I get to Costa Rica.

pleasebuffriven17 karma

How can I become a Hummingbird expert?

gourmetbiologist43 karma

Read a lot of books on Hummingbirds, then ask them very nicely. I've spent a lot of time working in the field, I've researched in one way or another 40 species of Hummingbirds now. I try to use my photography to teach people unique things about them. I think all of that combined makes me somewhat of an expert. We have a general meeting every five years or so to look at requests for Hummingbird Expertise badges if you'd like to submit in that time.

Kartaerio17 karma

Hey there, thanks for doing this AMA.

I myself am very interested in maybe pursuing a sort of biology-related career, and wanted to ask:

1.) What kind of school did you go through to become a hummingbird biologist?

2.) Do you enjoy what you do for your job?

3.) Is there anything you'd want to tell someone that's thinking of going into any sort of biology field of work?

gourmetbiologist19 karma

I was an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major.

I love what I do.

I think that we need to encourage more people to go into this field. I hear a lot of people telling people don't do it, there isn't enough money, it's going to be hard. It is going to be hard, and if you want to rise to the head of the pack you'll need to put in a lot of effort, it's not a 9-5 five days a week job, you need to go home and think about it a lot. I think that its a job that truly needs to be your passion and hobby to excel in it.

hstnfld15 karma

What plants or flowers can I plant in Missouri to attract hummingbirds?

gourmetbiologist27 karma

Cardinal flower, Burgemont, there are a number of vine species. If you go to National Audubon native flower database, they can give you some specifics. Especially for that area, I'm a northeast coast guy in the planting advice category, sorry.


infamyandbeyond15 karma

My mother-in-law loves hummingbirds and recently heard that if you leave feeders out too late in the season, the hummingbirds will stick around too long and not migrate when they are supposed to. Is there any truth to this?

gourmetbiologist21 karma

I think this is a bit of a mystery still to be honest. A fit bird will realize it's time to migrate. I believe some of these lingering birds, might not be the fittest birds in terms of survival. I think there are still some unanswered questions on this topic.

Mkarbala13 karma

So I used to put red dye in my hummingbird feeder with water and sugar to help attract more of them, but I read that the red dye actually causes blindness in the next generation, but also read that this was false and had no actual research to back it up. Basically, am I at all harming the birds by using red dye or should I just not use it at all? Thank you so much!!

gourmetbiologist46 karma

So the red-dye has also been attributed to bill rot. Which has been proven, so I would recommend not using it

isop0d11 karma

I found an injured hummingbird yesterday and have been trying to nurse it back to health. I have contacted a wildlife rehabilitator and am still waiting to hear back from him. In the meantime, what is the legality of keeping the hummingbird if she is too injured to make it in the wild again?

gourmetbiologist20 karma

Since you have been actively trying to get in contact with a rehabber for to transfer the bird, you are in the legal right. You can act as an intermediate until a rehabber is able to step in.

river-wind10 karma

I absolutely love your photos, and have wanted to do what you did since I was a kid. How do you fund your field studies? Private/public grants? US-based, or international groups?

At the moment, the Nature Center near me has just folded, and while the Township is up for purchasing the property in order to continue its mission, the buildings are in a bad state, and need to be repaired. I'm trying to figure out how to find enough grants to repair the old barn and get it running again. Any tips on grant writing for this sort of effort?

gourmetbiologist11 karma

Some of it is private and public grants. Companies investing. Fundraising. It all depends.

I would say maybe a community outreach campaign, DM and maybe I can help more if you can give me some background information.

sarahgabsalot9 karma

Hey Boss! Is it true with hummingbird species that you should put out double feeders so they don't impale each other? I think I read that in a field guide but I could have also pulled it out of my tuchus.

gourmetbiologist34 karma

Well putting out two or more feeders will decrease the chance an individual can dominate the feeder, and increase the number of Hummingbirds visiting. I would be very shocked to see males impaling one another, I know it's been documented, but it's rare. They do have very impressive aerial battler, I tend to see a lot of very tiny karate kicks.

17FocusRS8 karma

I'm going to Costa Rica in two weeks where are some good spots to see hummingbirds?

gourmetbiologist21 karma

Monteverde is a great spot, the Quetzal lodge is another incredible location.

freebird44468 karma

Do you use or plan to use camera traps to monitor flowers for pollinator species such as hummingbirds? Curious to know if or how remote cameras play into your research.

gourmetbiologist10 karma

I do, hopefully, I'll have a lot to talk about in the category after this upcoming field season. But yes ill be monitoring an endangered population like this for a few months this year.

Quake2Reefer6 karma

In the NYT there is a science article (from the past week) about preying mantis feeding on hummingbirds, attacking at bird feeders. I was wondering if you had any additional info or context to this predator / prey relationship that i, for one, found surprising? Do hummingbirds have any other predators we may be surprised to learn about?

gourmetbiologist15 karma

It does happen and its usually by invasive mantid species. So it's an introduced species that had learned about this food source in a very short span of time. Meaning we better watch out for the Preying Mantis uprise.

Ilovebirds26856 karma

What first interested you in tropical research?

gourmetbiologist12 karma

I was given the unique oppurtunity to go on a tropical research-based trip in High School to Panama, I never looked back.


I've just started working on my biology degree. What's the path to field biology/work?

gourmetbiologist8 karma

Talk to your teachers, and volunteer as much as you can. Get hands-on experience whenever possible. The more active hands-on experience you have, the better position you'll be in. If you can't find it at school, reach out to the community, lots of active Nature organizations in all areas of the US and abroad.

jayhawf5 karma

What type of equipment are you sporting to take these close-up shots (for all of the camera enthusiasts out there)?

gourmetbiologist7 karma

So I'm a Canon guy. My body line-up right now is Canon 7d mark II, 5d Mark III, and 1d Mark IV. For lenses I use the Canon 100mm IS 2.8L, 65MM 1-5x MPE, and 70-200 2.8 IS L II

Brewshound5 karma

My 8 year old wants to know if you primarily stick to just hummingbirds or do you research other birds?

gourmetbiologist7 karma

Glad to answer him/her, I do work with other species the other main one is Neotropical migrants, meaning birds that winter in Central and South America, but breed in North America.

my_foot_in_your_ass4 karma

Hello, I am currently an undergrad student with high hopes for contributing to conservation efforts. would a degree in biology help get me to where I need to be? I just want to have the knowledge to be able to contribute as much as I can.

THe use of beautiful photographs to draw attention to conservation via social media is an amazing idea. I appreciate what you do, kudos :)

gourmetbiologist6 karma

Thank you, I'm trying to show people this is a valid way of connecting with people.

Yes, I do believe that is the way to go, then you can branch out, finding research or a field that interests you.

HoneyMuffinPants3 karma

Hi Sean , i follow you on instagram. Your hummingbird videos and pics are amazing! I have one question- Can hummingbirds survive without nectar and live off a protein diet alone?

gourmetbiologist4 karma

So they feed their young during the breeding season, primarily insects, but then switch back to nectar and pollen after. They need it for the fat to be able to migrate and molt.

jufishi3 karma

Hello Sean, Q Do you feel like you are making a significant difference?

gourmetbiologist15 karma

I do feel like I'm making a difference. We've already figured things out about certain hummingbird species that was not previously known to science. The thing for me is, we've unfortunately come to a point where taking a step back and taking no action will result in too many negatives. As humans we've already affected so many things about bird migration and habitat, it's now the human responsibility to counter those effects. I think that's where I'm trying to do the most good the greater understanding for the generations of researchers and scientists to come.

relyne3 karma

Is there any difference between feeding hummingbirds the prepared nectar you buy in the store and boiled sugar water? I have been using the clear concentrate, but recently bats have been coming at night and emptying my feeder, and that is going to get really expensive.

gourmetbiologist3 karma

the red stuff can cause bill rot, you're using the right solution. You might have to start taking your feeders down at night, I've had to do this before because of similar bat issues.

stenella_frontalis3 karma

Sean, can you explain 1. The most common species you encounter in CT and Costa Rica and 2. How you came to focus on conservation in birds?

gourmetbiologist8 karma

In Connecticut, we only have the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. In Costa Rica, it depends on where I am, where I'm doing most of the Hummingbird research it's Green-breasted Mango. In the overall country, it's probably Rufus-tailed Hummingbird.

TravelSized853 karma

Hello. I am a huge fan of your IG account (especially your macro shots and Rayleigh scattering demo video) and I was thrilled to see that you are hosting an AMA.

What is one of your craziest experiences while doing field research? Are you ever afraid your test subjects will band together and rise up against you?

gourmetbiologist9 karma

Thank you, I'm glad you enjoy them.

It was my second time to the rainforests of Panama, I was still a High School student, we were out checking research sites, walking through the rainforest when I turned a corner and was face to face with a Tayra (very large weasel) It kept running up and down the trees, making these horrifying noises and barring its teeth. I was thinking I was going to be mauled, it eventually ran off. It was my first of many close wildlife encounters, but that first one will always stand out.

Well if the hummingbirds banded together, I think the corners report would read, death by toothpicks, so that would be less than ideal.

nekomel3 karma

What's your greatest goal or biggest achievement as a hummingbird biologist?

gourmetbiologist14 karma

Well, I'm hoping to effectively change the outcome of an endangered Hummingbird species, so that is the greatest goal right now.

achapokas2 karma

How often do hummingbirds molt?

gourmetbiologist2 karma

Hummingbirds can have two molts a year in some species, depending on the time of year their breeding.

J_a_r_e_d_2 karma

What exactly consists of being an explorer in the 21st century?

gourmetbiologist8 karma

There is probably a very loose and expanding definition nowadays. To me, it's more of an exploring for new ways to facilitate a great understanding of science and conservation.

Slashfyre2 karma

My saxophone has a hummingbird engraved on it, and I named my sax Camille. As a hummingbird expert, what're your thoughts on the name? Any other hummingbird-related name suggestions?

Sorry if this not as directly related to your field of study, thank you for doing this AMA!

gourmetbiologist3 karma

I think that's a bad ass name for a saxophone, hummingbird biologist approved.

Abortivora1 karma

Do hummingbirds have more heart attacks, since they fly so quickly?

gourmetbiologist2 karma

I don't think they tend to have heartaches due to that, over other species of birds.

UchihaDivergent1 karma

What do you think about humming birds getting eaten by praying mantids?

gourmetbiologist6 karma

Well, I don't particularly enjoy it. Especially since most of the photos I've seen are of invasive Mantid species eating native Hummingbirds.

ACMTtampa1 karma

How do you take a photo of a Hummingbird?

gourmetbiologist2 karma

With a really fast shutter speed.

gradenorr1 karma

what fact about hummingbirds has taken you the longest to discover, or has been the hardest to prove?

gourmetbiologist3 karma

My research partner and I, just last year proved that the very famous Ruby-throated Hummingbird does, in fact, return to the same site year after year in the tropics. So that hadn't been proven yet, that was a long-standing question about their migration.

fencelizard1 karma

Why do you call yourself a conservation biologist and hummingbird biologist when you've never published a scientific article on hummingbirds?

gourmetbiologist1 karma

I have one in review right now and have been working for the last 3 years on a research that will be published after its completion and I'm starting up another one now. Takes a few years to get the research completed, I would also argue publishing a paper on a topic doesn't automatically qualify you as a specific researcher either. I think that my long running work and trying to educate people in a multi-faceted way gives me more gusto as a Hummingbird Biologist. But if you're more of a staunch academic, I guess I can get my title once the papers are published.

a_terrible_sound0 karma

Can you make scrambled eggs with humming bird eggs?

gourmetbiologist5 karma

You can not, the scramble would get stuck in your molar.