I came across a video titled Hummingbirds drink from red Solo cup in hand, which has over one hundred thousand views, and presumably has been viewed in places other than YouTube.

The hummingbirds look very small compared to the "hand" in the video. According to Wikipedia, the smallest hummingbird is 5 cm long at adulthood. Also, the "hand" moves up and down, but the "fingers" don't move at all relative to the hand.

Is the hand fake, as opposed to a real human hand?

  • 1
    Having had a similar experience (at a bird shelter whose owner spent quite some time getting the doctor-birds and finches used to being hand-fed by visitors), I find the photo completely believable. The hand doesn't move much simply because you don't want to startle the birds into flying away.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 4:47
  • 1
    5cm is about the size of an average thumb, so the size of the birds do seem to match that data.
    – Bakuriu
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 10:00
  • The hand is extremely careful to be steady and not to scare away the birds. The hand has such small displacements during picture taking that there is doubt if it is rigid. The tiny vibrations of liquid surface however get magnified in reflection of objects in front. It is a real picture,
    – Narasimham
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


The scale of the hand, cup and Hummingbirds are reasonable, additionally the detail of the hand would be extremely difficult and potentially expensive to replicate as a fake.

Perhaps more relevant is comparing to this other video, which while not of the same event demonstrates that Hummingbirds will drink nectar from hands.*

Conclusion: It is almost always possible that a given video is faked in some way, even original videos of actual events can be convincingly imitated by later filmmakers. However given the high difficulty of faking the video compared to the low difficulty of producing it for real, applying Occam's Razor leads me to conclude it is real.

*Aww they're so cute!


The Huffington Post has posted an article on this video: Hummingbirds Drinking Out Of Red Solo Cup Are The Best Party Fowls. The article credits it to Bryan Chapman.

Chapman has posted another video (convenience link) that shows a hand in a different position. However, that hand doesn't seem to have its fingers move much either.

  • Definitely fake, the second video also uses the same exact birds - you can recognize the bird actor sitting on the hand by his attitude :)
    – Džuris
    Commented Apr 22, 2017 at 16:08

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