The tongue of a humming bird is very cuiious. It has two tubes alongside of each other, like the two tubes of a double-barreled gun. At the tip of the tongue the tubes are a little separated, and their ends are shaped like spoons. The honey is spooned up, as we may say, and then it is drawn into the mouth through the long tubes of the tongue. But the bird uses its tongue anothsr way. It catches insects with it, for it lives on these as well as on honey. It catches them in this way: the two spoons grasp the insect like a pair of tongs, and the tongue bending, puts it into the bird's mouth. The tongue, then, of the humming bird is not merely one instrument, but it contains several instruments together— two pumps, two spoons, and a pair of tongs.
This article was originally published with the title "Humming Birds' Tongues" in Scientific American 13, 39, 310 (June 1858)