Well, I am happy to report that spring bird migration is in full swing.

It will continue for the next couple of months, and the largest concentration of birds should be passing through the Ada area during the last week of April and the first week of May.

In late March, some of the returning birds I observed were barn, cliff and northern rough-winged swallows; a broad-winged hawk; and a scissor-tailed flycatcher.

Black and white warblers are back, and reports around Oklahoma indicate hummingbirds are trickling in.

Some winter birds are still around -- dark-eyed juncos and cedar waxwings.

As far as the bug world goes, many insects and spiders are emerging.

I saw my first of season monarch butterfly on April 2.

On another note, if you enjoy reading my columns in The Ada News, please reach out to Publisher Maurisa Nelson and let her know about it. You can reach her at mnelson@theadanews.com, or by phone at (580) 310-7502.

Thank you!

Fly like a hummingbird, look like a bee

This week’s featured creature flies like a hummingbird and looks like a bumblebee.

However, the snowberry clearwing is not a bird nor a bee. It isn’t a butterfly, either, and it cannot sting.

It is a moth. A sphinx moth, to be precise.

Now, I was recently tagged in a social media post concerning a photo by area resident Wes Edens. It was a hummingbird clearwing, and Wes had correctly identified it as such.

An Ada News reader, Stephenie Everett, tagged me in the post and asked if I knew about them, and wondered if I was planning to feature the species in a future column.

I responded, “Yep, snowberry clearwing” -- agreeing with Wes’ identification -- but I mistakenly wrote snowberry, not hummingbird. Ugh!

Apologies to Wes and Stephenie.

I will feature the hummingbird clearwing in a future column, however.


At 1-1/4 to 1-3/4 inches in length, the snowberry clearwing moth is about half the size of a ruby-throated hummingbird.

An adult snowberry clearwing has large eyes on a protruding head, along with a single black stripe on each side of its furry thorax (photo). Its conical abdomen extends well beyond the hindwings when the moth is in flight (photo).

The coloration resembles that of a bumblebee: the body is a mixture of fuzzy golden yellow and black (photo).

Wings are clear with dark veins. Legs are black.

The hummingbird clearwing has a reddish stripe across its back abdomen, and usually has more reddish veins on its clear wings. Its legs are pale or reddish-colored versus the snowberry’s black legs, and the underside is often white as well.

To get really technical, the snowberry clearing has a clear discal cell on the front of each wing, while the hummingbird clearwing has split cells.

Larvae (caterpillars) are usually green with black spots around the spiracles and have a black “horn” with a yellow base on the back end.


Adult moths hover while feeding from a huge variety of flowers. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, snowberry larvae feed on buckbrush (coralberry), snowberry, horse gentian, blue star, honeysuckles and dogbanes.


The eastern half of the United States and Canada, eh, from the Great Plains States and east.

Life cycle

Adults fly from late March well into September.

(Editor’s Note: Randy Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. He has been an avid birdwatcher, nature enthusiast and photographer for more than 40 years. Reach him at rnw@usa.com.)

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