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Bills as Weapons: A Natural History of Hummingbirds

March 2, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Hummingbirds are known for their jewel-like feathers and their whirring flight as they feed on the nectar from flowers, drinking hundreds and hundreds of tiny sips of sugary nectar throughout the day. But since their lives depend on access to flowers, they are under intense pressure to defend floral resources, and don’t hesitate to resort to violence if it means staying alive. In fact, hummingbirds fight frequently, using their bills to stab and to pluck feathers from rivals. 

In this webinar conversation with Dr. Alejandro Rico-Guevara and Dr. Kristiina Hurme, we will learn about the seemingly contradictory adaptations of hummingbird bills and attempt to learn whether a hummingbird can be good at both drinking nectar and fighting. 

Webinar registration is required for access to Q&A.
Dr. Alejandro Rico-Guevara is a biologist from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. He completed a PhD at the University of Connecticut, where he was supported as a Fulbright Scholar, and subsequently completed a postdoc at UC Berkeley. He has authored twenty-one peer-reviewed publications, sixteen as first author. Six of those publications have been highlighted on journal covers. Dr. Rico-Guevara firmly believes that biologists have both the privilege to learn about the wonders of nature and the responsibility to share what they have learned with scientists and non-scientists alike. His research has been featured by news media (e.g. New York Times, National Geographic Magazine), and in six nature documentaries/TV series. 
Dr. Kristiina Hurme is a behavioral ecologist who has studied fish, monkeys, birds and frogs in the Neotropics. She aims to observe animals in their natural environment and uses observation or video recording to monitor and catalog their behaviors. She wishes natural history was still studied with such splendor as in the 19th Century, but enjoys using citizen science platforms like iNaturalist.org to share observations of the natural world. Dr. Hurme is currently an Assistant Teaching Professor in the department of Biology at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she shares a love for natural history with her students. 


March 2, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Natural History Institute