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Alejandro Rico-Guevara interviewed by KUOW on hummingbird research [AUDIO]

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 - 10:45

Alejandro Rico-Guevara, UW Biology Associate Professor and curator of ornithology at the UW Burke Museum, was recently interviewed by KUOW on his research on hummingbirds

Alejandro Rico-Guevara remembers when he first realized he was a hummingbird guy, not like an "I fill my hummingbird feeder every week" type of guy, but an “I want to know everything about these birds” type of guy.

He was on a field trip through the Amazon rainforest, looking for spiders. It was mostly quiet on the trip, no animals to be seen, then, a hummingbird showed up.

"Hummingbirds are different," said Rico-Guevara, an associate professor of biology at the University of Washington and the curator of birds at the Burke Museum.

"They are very bold, which is very interesting because of their size," he said. "Tiny birds, you would imagine that would be scared of you. "

The bird wasn't scared and Rico-Guevara realized why they might be braver than the bigger animals.

"Probably because of their capabilities like flight, for instance, they're so fast, they may not be as scared as others," he said. It was a moment of realization for Rico-Guevara

"There is so much to learn about them and their personality," he said.

For the first time in his life, Rico-Guevara saw hummingbirds completely differently, and it changed him.

Since then, he’s dedicated his life to looking at hummingbirds in ways other people can’t. What he’s learned changed the world’s understanding of hummingbirds and, at times, has been of great use to humans.

Read and listen to the full interview on KUOW.

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