Reader comments: Jan says:
I saw these buggers in France a few years ago, where I went to attend a friend's wedding in the country side. My wife and I were awestruck and more than a little confused at to what we were looking at, so you're absolutely right that the name is most likely given to cover all the bases (though hawk seems a bit off, but what the heck).
I saw a bunch of these fluttering around a bush, drinking the nectar, and we stood there for quite some time debating whether it was a hummingbird or not.
Fabulous find, the photos of the hummingbird hawkmoth. Sometime these creatures are stranger than we imagine.
I tooks some similar shots of what I thought was a hummingbird last fall. Investigation showed it, too, was a moth -- a hummingbird clearwing moth. Photos here.
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.