Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Musings on Hummingbirds

I've taken 100's, maybe 1000's of photos of hummingbirds.  I was going through them this morning and thought I just might put a few of my favorites here.  They are framing today on the house and I'm kind of getting into this blog thing a little.  

As I was going through the photos, I realize how many are terrible shots.  Why did I keep them?  Photoshop is not that good!  No way to make them better even exists.  Or if there is, I sure don't know how to do it.  

Here are some of the ones I think are the best.  And some I think are just OK.  I want to share what I've seen and what I know about them.  If you're not interested, that's ok, too. More on the house in a day or two.

First, is the Anna's Hummingbird.  The photos of the Anna's are from Marysville.  They have been taken over the last few years.  They are the most common hummingbird on the Pacific Coast.  No larger than a ping pong ball and no heavier than a nickle.  

This is the male Anna's.  With "iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds."  

The one below is my favorite.  I think the feathers look like pink chain maille.  And I love the little bug stuck on his bill.

The female Anna's is stocky, too, and mostly iridescent green. 

Anna's are welcome backyard birds.  They are easy to attract and love the feeders.    


I started feeding my hummingbirds year round in 2008.  I loved seeing the hummingbirds eating when there was a bit of snow on the ground.  Most of the time, I remembered to take the feeders in at night when it was going to freeze, but sometimes not.  Didn't seem to deter them at all.  Maybe they like their sugar water on the rocks once and a while!

I did bring in the feeders and put them on the heat register to thaw them.  I didn't want the hummingbirds to get brain freeze!

The other hummingbird that visited us in Marysville was the Rufous Hummingbird.  They are the feistiest hummingbirds.  The Rufous males are "bright orange on the back and belly and have a vivid iridescent-red throat."  The feathers on the throat are called a "gorget."  It is called that from the piece of metal that used to protect the throat during battle.  


These little ones attack flowers and other hummingbirds.  They seem to be relentless!  This photo is from 2009 and it seems they have not been visiting as much since.  

Their red throat really shows up when they buzz by.  They are pretty noisy, too.  You can hear them coming for sure.  

The Rufous female looks much like the Anna's female.  The major difference I see is the orange tummy and orange going down the tail.

When you see the Anna's photo next to the Rufous, it's easy to see the difference.

If you see them on their own, it's very hard to tell which is which.  

Now that I am in Idaho, I have seen new (for me) species of hummingbirds.  The first one I'm showing is the Calliope Hummingbird.  These hummingbirds are the smallest breeding birds in North America and Canada.  They are also the smallest long-distance migratory bird.  "This bird was named after the Greek muse Calliope."

Their backs and heads are a metallic green and their throats have purple feathers that look a lot like rays.  He almost looks like he has wine-red whiskers!

This morning was cold and rainy.  This little guy was all puffed up to stay warm.  

The Calliope females are also green on the head and back.  Her throat is white with faint speckles that may show red iridescence.  The female's white tummy is buff colored on the sides.  The female also has white tips on the outer feathers of their dark tails.


The last hummingbird I've seen here is the Black-chinned Hummingbird.  I have only seen the male shown here one time!  He is quite elusive.  I read they are widespread, but not at my house.  Or he is that really quick one that is gone before I have my camera in my hands.   

The Black-chinned Hummingbird has a green head, back and sides.  He has an iridescent purple stripe at the base of his black chin.  He also has a gray chest, a black tail and a white spot behind his eye.  The throat of the Black-chinned Hummingbird can look like the whole throat is velvety black like the one above.  I will be working to get a shot that shows that purple stripe!

The female also has the white spot behind her eye.  She has a greenish back and head and a clear, smooth gray throat and belly.  The female Black-chinned Hummingbird is also bigger than the male.  


I hope you enjoyed my hummingbird photos.  I love trying to capture them.

I'm also hoping to get more shots of that male Black-chinned hummer.  

OK, here are a couple of photos of me and of us at the house.  I couldn't resist!



1 comment:

  1. Love your stories and pictures you've taken! They are beautiful. I, too, am just in love with hummingbirds! They are my favorite. We are from Oceanside, California and have hummingbirds year round. Well, about 4-5 stay during our winters. Have had numerous nests in our yard. I love catagorizing the different little ones I see.
    I now have 8 feeders set up at various parts of our backyard.
    The only enemy they have here are big black crows. They eat the little eggs if they find them, so I am constantly schooing them away!
    Again, thank you for posting your pictures and story.
    A Hummingbirds Friend,
    Kristina K