Hummingbird-like drone films inside a monarch butterfly swarm

We have two PBS videos today. First, a lovely video that uses a tiny “hummingbird drone” to fly inside a monarch butterfly swarm in their Mexican mountain destination.  Look at how thickly the trees are festooned with butterflies!

And, as a treat, here’s a video of a real tiny hummingbird, in fact the smallest bird on Earth: the bee hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae). It’s endemic to Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud.

How big is it? Wikipedia says this:

The bee hummingbird is the smallest living bird. Females weigh 2.6 g (0.092 oz) and are 6.1 cm (2.4 in) long, and are slightly larger than males, with an average weight of 1.95 g (0.069 oz) and length of 5.5 cm (2.2 in).  Like all hummingbirds, it is a swift, strong flier.

In other words, it would take 175 females to weigh a pound. And they have the typical hummingbird metabolism, eating half their weight each day in nectar and the occasional insect.

Eggs the size of coffee beans! 80 wingbeats per second! A nest smaller than a golf ball, and beautifully festooned with what looks like liverworts. This, like all hummingbirds, is one of the most marvelous products of natural selection.


  1. JezGrove
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Both videos were really beautiful and informative – many thanks for sharing them!

  2. rickflick
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Hummers are like little fairies.

  3. merilee
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Very cool! I had thousands(?)in my backyard trees only once, about 15 years ago (in Ontario).

  4. Posted June 14, 2020 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Just a beautiful footage of the butterfly swarm. Thanks for the show.

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