Hi Everybody and Welcome to the 2013 Ruby-throated Hummingbird season!!
I know it may seem a little late, but the best Hummer days still await most of us...sooo, we came from here:
This thread belongs to ALL Lovers of Hummingbirds so please join us in sharing pics, stories, fun facts and anything else RT Hummer related. And don't forget to go back to last year's thread now and then. It was packed full of great pics and conversation!
I don't have many pics yet from this year so I'll start out with a few I may have posted last year...hopefully you guys have short memories.
2013 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds
Hi Everybody and Welcome to the 2013 Ruby-throated Hummingbird season!!
pmutalik2000, Very Nice! Tell me, Are you taking these photos in the early morning/evening hours? What type of camera are you using?
You're Very Welcome, IRIS & pmutalik2000! I'm sure everyone was thinking about starting the thread, but so many of us had late Hummers this year we just never got around to it.
IRIS ~ Love those pics, especially the Monarda shots...so tiny next to those big blooms!!
My Monarda probably won't be blooming for two or three weeks. My 'Jacob Cline' died (drowned, actually, when too much rain flooded their flower bed), but I still have a small variety that's thriving.
pmutalik2000 ~ Fabulous shots!! The middle one looks like he's aiming at a "Bulls-eye".
I try to take the pictures in the mornings and evenings. The camera I am using is a Nikon D2x with a SB-800 strobe set at 1/32 power. I am also using a 200mm telephoto lens. The shutter speed is typically 1/200 or 1/250's and I under expose the shots since the strobe makes up for the under exposure. This allows me to freeze the wings. At first I thought the birds would mind the strobe but thankfully they don't seem to be the least bit concerned with it. Even after the strobe they spend several seconds blissfully drinking the sugar water. I limit myself to one shot per visit so as not to freak them out and let them drink as much as they want. My monarda is still not showing any signs of blooming, infact only the clematis and a couple of roses are blooming in the garden right now. Hopefully will get more "natural" pictures when they bloom. Hope this helps.
This message was edited Jun 11, 2013 3:34 PM
nutsaboutnature, Thanks! And sorry to hear your 'Jacob Cline' drowned, Seems a lot of places had a lot more rain this year then expected ( I know we sure did!), A lot of my clematis vines ( and some others)are showing signs of too much water. The Monarda ( I call it Bee-Balm) is doing great though and the hummers really love it ( And the Red, And Black and Blue Salvia too) You'll be having a flood of oppertunitys when yours blooms in a few weeks!! I wish I had the time to just take one day to devote to photos, I think I could get some pretty good shots , Especially now while the bee-balms blooming, Love the Bee-Balm ( Though it's a MAJOR spreader here) But, to me, It doesn't seem to flower long enough , Won't be long and all the blooms will be gone :( .. But, for now, the Hummers are really enjoying it! ~ The Salvia lasts for a long time and they love that too, I got some good sized patches for them. Look forward to more posts when you get some more photos !
pmutalik2000, Thankyou for all the information! I thought you were taking them about those times ( Best time to take them actually) I really look forward to when your Monarda blooms, You too will have a great oppertunity to get some fantastic photos when they are at the blooms!! It's hard to resist taking a lot of photos of those Flying Jewels!!
Great captures! Usually the Bumblers don't feed at the feeders, But, the hornets and ants sure do!
emptyeyes, Love that shot! Definately a challenge at times to freeze the wings, Especially getting a shot when it's getting dark! ~ I don't know about the others here, But, I only use manual for all my photos and have to manually get the HB's in focas when trying to get a photo, ( Can't use auto focas with the lens I use) ~Very challenging! Heres a few from today ..
Great shots, pmutalik2000!
Adorable catch, emptyeyes!
IRIS ~ Cute little female X 8!
Iris, the only way I can do it is to focus the feeder and when the hummer comes in for a drink, snap the picture real quick, the ones that were real close I was sitting in a chair and you would not believe how long I have to sit sometimes before I hear that hum that they can only make. Sometimes I snap too late and get just the feeder but most times I get either the female or the male, today I had a red hat on and they were both flying around me. Everytime I hear that hum I just freeze and see if I can spot them.
Our Hummingbirds are next to non-existent this year. Our family may catch one or two a week, rather than the daily visits and battles of last year. We've not been putting out as much nectar now that the columbine is blooming and they are going to that. I planted a dozen or more of those things. We also have some Cardinal flowers that came back from last year.
As far as I know, the couple of neighbours we have, they are not feeding hummingbirds, so not sure what happened. Maybe the drought??
Very nice photos, you all. That was a fun challenge last year, trying to get photos of the wings. This was probably the best we got and this was using the 8 shots per second setting.
emptyeyes, I do the same, I wait untill I see them at the feeder/flowers and just try to focas the best I can and snap off a shot, doesn't come out too bad most times.
Chillybean, Good shot! I wonder why your not seeing them much this year too, I'd keep the feeders out and full even if there is other plant foods around, I have them coming to visit the bee balm and salvia like crazy, But, They still always come and drink from the feeders too.
A few from today ..
Cute picture, Chillybean!!
Although we've been seeing our Hummers daily, there are fewer than normal and they were very late this year. I expect we'll see more as Summer progresses. I bet you will too. It's just been strange this year. I agree with IRIS about keeping at least one or two feeders out.
Super shots, IRIS!! She's a real sweety.
Here's a couple of pics from yesterday. It was super bright out and, unfortunately, parts of the pic were slightly washed out while his little face was very shaded...probably from the feeder.
Thanks nutsaboutnature! I think your pics are great even if the lighting wasn't at the best advantage point!! Great captures!!
Trying out a new technique today, it's called Strobe Motion. The idea is to set the camera shutter to a very slow speed (1/4 second) in my case and set the flash to repeat fire at 1/8 power multiple times. I set the flash to fire 3 times at 30Hz. Here is what I ended up with. Have to fool around a bit more with the flash speed to get this right but I'm quite happy with the result.
well that's pretty fun! And nice that you could get this with the MALE bird.
Has anyone seen a beat up looking bird? I didn't get any pics but this little guy claiming one of feeders looks like he has scars on his back!
It is possible, memays. Hummers are cute as can be, but aggressively defend whatever territory they deem to be theirs and some individuals are more aggressive than others.
Memays, I've seen a fight between 2 hummers, and one was relentless in his attack. I had to intervene, to rescue the little guy. The attacker kept charging him, while I was helping it. But my effort were in vain, he died a few hrs after his rescue.
That's heartbreaking, burn.
Mother Nature can be so cruel, at times. Thank goodness we don't see it most of the time.
Great shots, everyone!
IRIS, we're just starting to see females again and a couple of juvies.
Haven't had very many hummers this year. Hopefully it'll start to pick up soon with the males beginning to migrate and babies out and about.
nutsaboutnature, I never get a lot of hummers here either, I got a male , And two females that hang around and are still here.
More and more hummers are starting to show up, now. We now have mostly females and juvies, with the occasional adult male.
Because we had less hummers this year, I had only put up two feeders for most of the season (along with the blooms I have for them). With the visits more frequent, now, I just added another feeder to cut down on the chasing. There's still chasing, but at least more hummers get to eat.
Haven't gotten too many pics lately. Here's a couple...nothing special. The silhouette was mostly for fun.
Well I put up a fourth feeder and it seems to help. Although now I think the bird I saw mag have been molting. Love these birds!
Hummer activity has been strange this year, all over the country. My brother lives in the Colorado mountains and has a ton of hummers. He puts up about a dozen feeders and has to fill them daily. His hummers were also late this year.
Usually my males show up quite a bit before the females in spring, but because the males were late the females showed up right afterwards since they need time to breed and raise their young.
Glad your hear your hummer may have just been molting. Their feathers can get pretty scruffy-looking at times as new ones grow in.
Well...of course I would be standing right next to some Cardinal Flowers when a little female decided she was hungry...with my camera sitting in the house. She hovered and studied me for a few seconds, decided I wasn't a danger, and proceded with her snack.
Most of our adult males have headed south, but we still have a few and should still see some migrating from further north.