hummers at last

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Yay! It's finally the time of year when there are lots of hummers frequenting the feeders! (lots for me means 3 or 4 lol) Every summer I promise myself I will spend enough time behind the camera outside to get some recognizeable shots. Time flies, I get busy with family stuff and *POOF* the hummers have left. This year I was determined not to let this happen again and so far have spent two sessions outside.

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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

So far I only have pictures of females although I have seen males flying around.

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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

They are having mid air battles with lots of viscious squeeking and and the sound of beaks tapping each other.

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Lawrenceville, GA

Good for you! And great pictures by the way.
They've picked up around here a lot, too. I was worried because I had them at my house, then nothing for a couple weeks, now they're back en masse. I even had two on one feeder yesterday which is a rarity at my house. Usually, they're bickering to the point of me wondering if they ever get anything to eat.

This message was edited Jul 16, 2007 5:55 PM

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Hi Judy - I think when they show up again like this it means that the babies are out of the nest. I'm not positive but that's just my feeling. it seems that the hummers with shorter beaks are the young ones.

They have also been harrassing the other birds at the seed feeders. They dive bomb them like big angry bees and do that U shaped aggressive hover in front of them.

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Lawrenceville, GA

I agree.... I can tell some of these are really young by their tail feathers.
I had one give a chipmunk what for yesterday. The chipmunk was on the tree stump under the hummer feeder which hangs from a shepard's hook. He'd fly down and stare at the chimpmunk and cuss up a storm. It cracked me up.

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

It has been fun watching them while standing behind the tripod. Its amazing how soon they accept your presence.

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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Here we are flapping our wings at the sound of the camera click.



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Marlton, NJ

Hi Susan, These pics are all of immature Males (note the spotting on the throat).

Very nice pics! So good to see you back!

This message was edited Jul 16, 2007 6:17 PM

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

gulp, gulp, gulp... (can I get that "biggie sized"?)

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Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Great shots, lilyfantn. So glad you got your hummers at the feeders and got some pics, too!

We have had a pretty good hummer year so far. Some nice ones coming to the feeders and no real thugs like last year. But maybe that's later in the summer!

I have to get my camera cranked up for some pics, too. I am in the same boat your were in--getting busy and the hummers are so FAST I'm never ready to click!!

Not an easy thing to capture photos like yours!

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Hi tabasco! I was determined not to let another opportunity pass. I'm lucky because I have the summers off. I find that 9;00am ish and 5:00pm ish are especially active times.

Catching them feeding at flowers is pretty hard. I only have a few of those. Its hard for my camera to focus on them as they never seem to be still when they are hovering.

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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

I saw something I have never seen before - one of the hummers visited the nandina flowers. I didn't think they liked nandinas. (sorry the pic is so blurry)

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Brainerd, MN

Gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing!

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Hi Pell!! I didn't know that about juvie male hummers! Thanks so much for the info! I love how you learn new stuff here all the time!

Thanks too sybil!

Palm Coast, FL(Zone 9a)

nice photos

Lawrenceville, GA

Tabasco: "Thug hummers" was the first thing that made me smile this morning. Thanks!

Marlton, NJ

Yes the last pic of him on the feeder is especially nice, very clear with lots of detail.

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

Yay!! ..
lilyfantn's in 'hummerville' again!

I'm tickled pink and plum happy for you !!

Please, don't anyone hesitate getting me 'set strait' about this - - but I swear to goodness, I thought that it was long believed that when a hummer was doing (his) 'U' dance - - that he was touting(?) and flirting with a female (or two), to gain her more receptive attentions -?-

Also, that the female is usually a lil more 'hidden' under any leaves, limbs, etc. in whatever tree or shrub he was 'u'-ing in front of. Oftentimes, (we) just assume he's u-dancing in response to some other critter that jes so happens to be 'more visible' to us. (hee) .. < That, or perhaps that he's rather 'stuck on himself'!! .. LOL

I've been sooooo tempted to place a relatively small (safe) mirror into a shrub (of which 'I' can see easily) .. and watch whatever commotion transpires. But, I'm reluctant to follow thru tho' .. for I'd not want to risk the lil flying jewels getting hurt in any way either. Especially while trying to bully the other guy around), and exhausting himself!

((huggs))

- Magpye

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Hi Magpye! That would be very interesting if you did that little mirror experiment. Although I bet they would just choose a different branch lol!

I think that the U shaped flight pattern is used for both situations. Here is a quote from "Hinterland's Who's Who Ruby throat fact sheet" Here he is talking about the aggressive display...

"Both the males and the females aggressively defend their food supply and its surroundings against intruders. These encounters lead to persistent swift pursuits that sometimes develop into fighting. The tiny bird uses speed and the hum of its wings to intimidate intruders. It employs certain flight patterns in these aggressive displays. In one, the bird makes a speedy dash, describing a horizontal U, from side to side around the intruderís ears. In another, the bird swings vertically up and down like a pendulum. Both flight patterns are accompanied by high squeaky notes, and the birdís wings hum like an angry bumblebee. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is persistent and continues to worry the intruder until it has had enough and flees."

and here he talks about the courtship display being similar...

"A spectacular feature of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirdís courtship behaviour is the maleís famous pendulum display, an elaboration of the aggressive flight display. The male dives down towards the resting or feeding female. Like a pendulum he sweeps past her and up to a point 2 to 3 m in the air, then back along the same path in reverse. He repeats this swinging display time and again, all the while uttering squeaky notes. As he dives past the female his wings hum the loudest; as he swings closer to the female his hum becomes more intense and his speed increases. Abruptly, the display ends; both dart off together, to start again elsewhere. "

Here is a link to his very interesting web page...

http://www.hww.ca/hww2.asp?id=71

The hummers being around have eased my empty nest syndrome. The yard has been a noisy active place due to house wrens nesting in a house by my front window. I have really been enjoying watching them. Right after I took this picture of one of the babies looking at the big wide world outside his house I left to do soome errands. When I got back I could immediately tell that they were gone by the total quiet! I really miss the constant ratchety warning noises that the parents would make.




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Brainerd, MN

Nice picture! Sorry for your loss but you know, somebody will show up soon to make lots more noise!

NW Qtr, AR(Zone 6a)

I've now been officially 'set strait' .. and is much appreciated: for the info you've shared and the web links!

Made a quick hit on some of the highlights - now, gotta go read some more.

Thank you so much, lilyfantn ..

((huggerooners))

- Magpye

Whidbey Island, WA(Zone 7a)

Lily, don't know how I missed this thread, but I did - wonderful photography!!!!

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks Murmur and everyone! I have been playing with the shutter speed setting on my camera and got some new pictures. I found that I can atually get a picture of the wings stopped in motion while they are hovering but the photo was too grainy. I also discovered that higher shutter speed results get a lot better if the photo is taken in bright light. I still have so much to learn lol!



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Marlton, NJ

Very nice!!

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

I'm thinking that this is the same little male that keeps visiting. Next to the blue sage and the crocosmia he really likes the lantana.



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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks Pell! Here you can see he is getting his red throat feathers in - they are so tiny!



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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

I'm spending so much time outside with the camera he is getting curious. Sometimes when I'm inside I see him hovering in front of the living room windows. You can tell he's looking at everything lol!

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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

I'm tempted to try the hand feeding theing with a red bottle cap.

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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

I am really going to miss the hummers when they leave!

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Marlton, NJ

Wonderful pics Lily!

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Thanks again Pell. I'm glad I finally ventured off autofocus. I really AM determined this winter to learn more about my camera. (where have you heard that before ha ha)

This is the last one for today...

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Jeffersonville, IN(Zone 6b)

Awesome pictures Lily!!

Beachwood, NJ(Zone 6b)

Great pics!

Whidbey Island, WA(Zone 7a)

Lily, those are some of the best hummer photos I have ever seen - great job! And I hear ya when you say you're going to learn more about your camera - I've had mine since October, have taken over 20,000 pictures, but still use all the automatic settings!

I hope you do try the hand feeding thing - I want to do that some time as well and now have a remote control so could set the camera up and just click the little control. It might scare them at first, but they'd probably get used to it. Well, one of these days!

Anyway, superb photography on your part!

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Hi Murmur! This is my third year and I'm just now dipping my toe into the uncharted waters of the scary land of "off auto setting" lol.

My camera has a very loud click and my little hummer often jumps into the air when I take a picture. He used to fly away and now he seems more used to it and just jumps and then looks at me while hovering then goes back to eating.
My Nikon is a D70. My DH has the D80 and I noticed the click is much quieter. I wonder if he would trade with me. :-)

Marlton, NJ

Have you ever taken pics w/ his camera(the D80)? It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on the differences.

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

Yes, back when he first got it. The differences I noticed right away were the larger screen on the back and the quieter click. The memory card is a lot smaller in size and I'm not wild about the wimpy door you have to open and close on the camera to get the card in and out. I down load from the card a lot and I could imagine the hinge breaking. I'm sure there are other differences that I'm not aware of. I asked him about trading this morning and he isn't very interested. He asked me to stop using his camera when I accidently erased the pictures he had on the card.

I think I read somewhere that Nikon is not making the D70 any more so your choices now are the D40 or the D80 (not counting the D200 lol)

Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

One more from this morning! (this is so fun... i hope y'all don't mind the over posting lol!)

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Kingsport, TN(Zone 6b)

and this one...

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