All About Hummingbirds


I have discovered that I have never, in my years of posting on this blog, did a post exclusively about hummingbirds.  I don’t know why that is, but one possibility is that I have a hard time with the identification of the different birds.  Another possible reason is that in my area there is only one dominant hummer; the Black-chinned Hummingbird.  And of course, most of them are the dull, unattractive females.  So I guess I ignored them most of the time.  Oh, did I forget to mention that they are danged hard to photograph, too.

But going back through my photos, I found that I did in fact photograph a few individuals in my travels over the years.  I noticed that I did a pretty good job when I decided to give it a try.  I am not going to try to tell you that I am an expert on these things.  The following photos are for your enjoyment, and if I mis-identified any of them let me know.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird - singing in the rain

Black-chinned Hummingbird – singing in the rain

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbirds

Sub-adult Rufous Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Black-chinned Hummingbird

And finally an Anna’s Hummingbird resting on Ann’s hand after being banded by Kelly Bryan at Far Flung Outdoor Center, during a banding event.  Seconds later it flew off.  Ann said she could feel the bird’s little heart beating through her hand.

Anna's Hummingbird resting in a comfortable place.

Anna’s Hummingbird resting in a comfortable place.

I hope you enjoyed these photos.  Perhaps, in the near future, I may decide to photograph a few more of these species.  Stay tuned…..

Click on any image to see an enlargement.

 

 

 

 

Banding the Hummingbirds


As most of you know, Ann and I spent the weekend down at the Casitas of Far Flung Outdoor Center in Study Butte, Texas.  We arrived there Thursday afternoon and found out that Kelly Bryan of Fort Davis, was going to be banding hummingbirds there the following morning.  We had planned on going birding in the Big Bend National Park, but this sounded exciting and made up our minds that we were going to attend the event.

At 8:00 Friday morning, Kelly pulled up with his equipment.  Along with his friend, Carolyn Ohl, from Alpine, they proceeded to put covers on all of the existing hummingbird feeders.  They then took another one to the center of the courtyard area, and set it in a cage with a large opening.  The idea was that all the hummers in the area, upon finding the other feeders useless, would eventually locate the cage with the feeder inside.  It worked handsomely and several birds were caught.

Kelly and Carolyn carefully retrieved each bird and put it in a little cloth sack, which they took over to the bench where Bryan would do the banding.  He then carefully takes the bird from the bag and proceeds to examine it to check the overall condition of the hummer and take measurements.  All such information is recorded in his log book.  After that, he puts a very tiny metallic band on the leg with the date, location, etc.  These bands are very light, with it taking 5,000 of them to weigh an ounce.

On completion of this operation, the hummingbird is then ready for release.  Kelly simply puts it in his palm, (or yours) for a brief few seconds of rest, then the bird flies off.  It is quite a thrill to watch.  In one photo below, an Anna’s Hummingbird is resting on Ann’s palm seconds before taking flight.  Click on all photos to see enlargements.

After getting her new band, this Anna's Hummingbird gets a drink with the help of Bryan before taking flight.

After getting his new band, this Anna’s Hummingbird gets a drink with the help of Kelly before taking flight.

Anna's Hummingbird rest briefly in the palm of Ann's hand before taking flight.

Anna’s Hummingbird rest briefly in the palm of Ann’s hand before taking flight.

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

After watching these proceedings, Kelly and Carolyn suggested that we go down to Lajitas and check on the hummingbirds that hang around the restaurant area there.  There we were very fortunate to see three new hummingbirds that we had never seen before.  Not only the Anna’s, which was new to us, but both a Broad-billed and a Blue-throated Hummingbird.  All three of them lifers for me and Ann, bringing our life-list total to 267.  (but who counts?)  Plus we spotted a Black-chinned and a Rufous Hummingbird.  In all, there were five different hummingbird species in that one area.  A real bonanza.

Since we were there just for the weekend, we didn’t do too much birding per se, except for a quick trip to the Cottonwood Campground in Big Bend NP to do check out a few.

But for the weekend, I think we saw a total of around 40 birds, and added the ones below to our 2014 list.  Our goal is 210.

#44  American Kestrel

#45  Eastern Meadowlark

#46  Common Raven

#47  Loggerhead Shrike

#48  Mountain Bluebird

#49  Sage Thrasher

#50  Scaled Quail

#51  Black-chinned Hummingbird

#52  Anna’s Hummingbird  (lifer)

#53  Eurasian Collared Dove

#54  Blue-throated Hummingbird  (lifer)

#55  Rufous Hummingbird

#56  Broad-billed Hummingbird  (lifer)

#57  Northern Flicker

#58  Pyrrhuloxia

#59  Townsend Warbler

#60  Chihuahuan Raven

#61  Great Roadrunner

#62  Ruby-crowned Kinglet

#63  Cactus Wren

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds


Happy July4th everybody!!!

On July 1st I posted photos of the Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  Today I will show you some of my images of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).

After publishing that post, Cindy Kilpatrick commented about the sharpness of my photos at such high ISOs.  I use a noise-reduction software called DeNoise, made by Topaz Labs.  It reduces noise without any loss of detail.  It sells for 79.95 and it is some of best money I ever spent.  I also use, in conjunction with that, another software called Focus Magic.  Between the two, I get these great results.

Click on any image to see a beautiful enlargement.  Enjoy.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 teleconverter – tripod mounted
  • 1/500 sec. @ f7.1
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – center weighted average
  • Aperture priority
Ruby -throated Hummingbird
  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens – hand-held
  • 1/60 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance 400mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Metering – not recorded

    Ruby-throated Hummingbird at feeder

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter – tripod mounted
  • 1/200 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – Center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-conerter – tripod mounted
  • 1/250 @f5.6
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance 700mm
  • Metering – Center weighted average
  • Aperture priority

Black-chinned Hummingbirds


Going through all of my images yesterday, I came to realize that I haven’t broached the subject of hummingbirds in quite awhile.  So, having that in mind, I thought that today I would post some of my photos of some Black-chinned Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri).  The black-chins are the most predominant hummingbird in this area.  We do have some ruby-throats, and I will feature them in the next post in a few days.

Black-chinned Hummingbird - young male

  • Canon EOS 20D
  • Canon 100-400mm zoom lens
  • 1/250 sec. @ f7.1
  • ISO 400
  • Lens focal distance – 400mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Metering – Partial

Black-chinned Hummingbird - female

This little gal was enjoying the mist over the pond at the Hummer House in Christoval, Texas

  • Canon EOS 7D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter – tripod mounted
  • 1/000 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 1600
  • Lens focal distance – 700mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Metering – Partial

Black-chinned Hummingbird - male

This guy looks a little angry.  Something has his dander up. 🙂

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter – tripod mounted
  • 1/250 sec. @ f6.3
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance –  700mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Metering – Partial

Black-chinned Hummingbird

  • Canon EOS 40D
  • Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter – tripod mounted
  • 1/800 sec. @ f5.6
  • ISO 800
  • Lens focal distance – 700mm
  • Aperture priority
  • Metering – Center weighted