|A young male Ruby-throated Hummingbird preens in the plum tree beside our deck. Moments before, he had been squeaking and squawking like the warrior he is, having successfully chased two other hummers away from his feeder.|
|King of the North Feeder and all its environs...|
|The sounds of hummers fighting and squabbling over nectar is synonymous with summer around our house.|
Several people have emailed me asking how I captured the cool background. I had nothing to do with it. Mama Nature and timing took care of it. I photographed the bird around 6:00 p.m. on the north side of the deck. The hummer was sitting in a plum tree with beautiful maroon leaves. Behind the plum was a hornbeam tree lit by the evening sun. Its bright green sunlit leaves peaking through the dark maroon plum leaves created the splashes of color. I used a shallow depth of field to create the blurred background (bokeh), but truly Mamma Nature took care of the rest. Click here and here for a quick explanation of bokeh. If you look at the two photos following, you can see the background has lost some of its punch. The shift of the sun killed the brightly lit green background leaves...
|Juveniles and female hummingbirds look similar, but since this bird has pronounced markings on his throat, |
I think he is a male. Females are usually more white.
|...little emerald pinecone feathers glitter in the sun.|
With razor-sharp, stops, starts and spins, hummingbirds' aerial combat feats are amazing...and mesmerizing. It's hard to turn away from their supercharged swoops of acceleration and agility. These tiny birds have it going on, and their sounds and displays make me summertime happy, but they won't stick around for long. Adult males are the first leave. They head south about a month earlier than the females and juveniles. It's already August 6, and adult males often start their journey home by mid-August. I don't want to think about summer ending...and these little birds going with it, so I'll ignore the shortening days and enjoy the heat and hummer-squabbles as long as I can.
A slow-motion hummingbird video...
Rick was standing next to our trumpet honeysuckle plant when a hummingbird flew up and started sipping nectar from the long, tubular flowers. He had his cell phone on him, so he captured a little video. He used the slow-motion option, and it actually shows the figure-eight motion of the hummingbird's wings in flight (I added a little music for fun).
Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Slow Motion from Kelly Riccetti on Vimeo.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Slow Motion -- part 2 from Kelly Riccetti on Vimeo.