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No. 97: Jan-Feb 1995

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The early (and persistent) insect catches the bird!

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are spunky little bundles of avian energy. They attack crows and hawks routinely, even though they weigh no more than three dollar bills (about 3 grams). They are not weaklings, for they cross the 800-kilometer (500-mile) Gulf of Mexico non-stop. But they are, it must be admitted, so small that a burly insect might subdue one. And this has happened at least once.

"Mrs. Elly Weirda of Rock Hall, Maryland. was watching her hummingbird feeder when she noticed a large praying mantis sitting on top of it. As the hummingbirds approached, it appeared as if the praying mantis was actually stalking them. This continued all day, but the hummingbirds safely eluded the clutches of the praying mantis. When the praying mantis was still on top of the hummingbird feeder the next day, Mrs. Weirda decided to capture the unusual activity on film. She quickly set up her camera and waited. As fate would have it. the praying mantis' persistence paid off. The unexpected did happen, and Mrs. Weirda captured the humming-bird's struggle on film. The amazing thing about this strange event is that the praying mantis consumed the entire hummingbird. Only a few feathers were left as witness to the struggle."

(Anonymous; "'Insect Tiger' Strikes Hummingbird," Wild Bird News, no. 5, September/October 1994.)

From Science Frontiers #97, JAN-FEB 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987