Hummingbird Highlights

Having a hummingbird feeder suspended in front of a kitchen window, adjacent to a sand cherry perch, affords an opportunity to observe and photograph the nuances of daily behavior that might not be possible in a more natural setting. Despite the many obstacles to quality images – the haze and imperfections of glass in small windows, undesirable background elements, the ever-present contrast of sunlight and shadows – I sometimes shoot scenes just to capture the fascinating behavior that results from several hummers visiting the same feeder.

We see males and females throughout the day, probably two mated pairs.

The typical sighting is a single bird, male or female, at the feeder at any one time. On this occasion (2 images), a female was on the back side of the feeder when a second female arrived. There was obvious tension in the air, as the feeding bird stared menacingly while the incoming hummer put on the brakes and hovered, not sure whether to feed, fight, or fly.

Unlike the females, males are notorious for their aggressive defense of feeders and flowers. There is a feisty little male in our group, and he has an abundance of attitude. He defends the feeder aggressively, often poised for combat until it’s too dark to see him. When perched near the feeder, his head is on a swivel, looking in all directions for an intruder. Should one show up, a spectacular chase ensues and, in the blink of an eye, the feeder is ours again.

Photos by NB Hunter. © All rights reserved.

 

8 thoughts on “Hummingbird Highlights

    • Glad you’re following because detailed comments like yours are helpful and motivating (good or bad!). This experiment gave me some ideas …need to improve my set up and open up more options because there is much potential. Thanks!

      • I’m glad you take care in having the best backgrounds possible. The care in your work shows. Based on the results so far, this experiment is unquestionably worth pursuing.

      • Since it may be seasonally impractical to have the window open, it may be pricey but you might consider exploring replacing the window pane with something closer to optical glass.

  1. Wonderful images of these charming little gems. We have several species in our neighborhood and I’m finding the biggest challenge to be learning the difference between the Allen’s and the Rufous hummingbirds. Near as I can figure, it comes down to the tailfeather tips! (Seriously?) Our year round residents, the Anna’s, are far easier to identify. They are such fun to watch.

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