Summertime-part four-those little guys called Hummingbirds:)
I have to admit, I’m a hummingbird stalker;) I can sit outside for hours, waiting, well, ok, sometimes I get up and go photograph dragonflies and bumblebees, any pretty flower, but mostly, I lay in wait for these little flying brats! They can try your patience, hiding behind the feeder ( turn it so they can’t quite do that;) ha!) zipping in and out without a drink, blasted little birds;) They are what got me started in photography a decade ago. Do I have the perfect camera, no, frame rate isn’t the best, so I have to plan with the Canon 6D, one day I’ll go mirrorless with a faster frame rate…sigh, in the meantime I need lots of sun, to the side or behind me, fast shutter speed ( 1/3200-1/4000 sec) to freeze those wings, and lots and lots of shots and luck:) I do cheat though…”Ha! You say! I knew it!” Not only do I stalk these birds, I move their feeders around to just where I want them. I had one hanging by the sunflower, it makes them curious and go “Hey, maybe I’ll try that yellow flower, or that pink dahlia.” They do go to those flowers, I’m just trying to raise my chances!
They do get to know you though! The new juveniles coming out are much more skittish than the Spring regulars, who I can sadly say have headed South already leaving the territorial battles to the molting and not so glamourous girls and boys:) On a planning note, I will actually plant sunflowers next year, they come in so many beautiful shades, the red ones would be quite interesting to these little guys! This beautiful plant comes compliments of a chipmunk that hid the seed in my flower pot. I just watered it, that is why I call it my volunteer! The one flower I don’t have to tempt them with are the beautiful Canna Lilies that are starting to bloom! They love them and check every flower for a delicious meal it seems! Thanks Pam and Graham for those amazing bulbs! I will over winter them and plan next year where to put them, just where the light is perfect!
I currently have three feeders, one is actually an oriole feeder but the female Ruby Throated seems to prefer it. One is a traditional feeder, the other two are flat. They are great as you can unscrew the hanging part and place them on any flat surface-nothing for those little guys to hide behind..mwahahahaha!;)
You have to get inventive sometimes to get the shot! Luring them over with the feeder to check out a new flower often works. My dahlias are in a pot I can move around, looking for the best light, the hanging baskets can be placed on the picnic table as well…my seat in the shade-their flowers in the sun-Perfect! You have to use your imagination! I enjoy every bit of it! Sometimes it is just catching them in a different pose. When I put the feeder on the picnic table one little female had to come in and explore the entire area before settling down to a long drink:) I guess you just have to be careful what kind of bar you drink at right?;)
Watching their day to day behaviour is always eye opening. Who knew they could get into so many odd contortions;) Cirque de Soleil birds:) I do love the flower shots but sometimes it is just fun trying to capture the weird and wonderful poses they get themselves into!
I was sad we didn’t have a nest nearby this year, maybe next year! It disintegrated over the winter and I read they don’t reuse them. Today I haven’t seen a single older adult. There are a lot of rough looking juveniles around right now, feathers sticking out at odd angles, no feathers, mid molt and damn they are fuggly. Hard to say that about a hummingbird but these boys and girls are going through their gawky stage:) There are three battling constantly over small bits of territory. Front of the house, middle, and back-all depending on where a feeder is, they also fly off to our neighbours, I see them zip down by the powerline clearing to their feeders! One sad little guy has finally regrown some feathers-I promised not to publish his really ugly shots, he has his pride;) His little bits of ruby throat are starting to grown in!
Last year some of these juveniles stayed around until mid-September. I will miss them when they go! We were spoiled in Baja being on the migration path and some little Anna’s would even overwinter in the snow! Amazing little birds, I am envious of them getting to go to Mexico this Winter! Winter has crossed my mind in the last few days with the temperatures into the mid 30’s Celsius, higher with the humidex…that is sweating when you blink weather:) And NO-I’m not wishing for it to arrive early:) Just going to enjoy the time we have left with these little flying jewels!
I’ll leave you with our resident male and his little scarred beak. I’ll be able to tell next year if it is him when they arrive back-I hope so-it is a long journey-Hasta la vista baby y buen viaje:)