Hummingbird Gallery

All photos taken at one of Bosque Bill's backyard feeders on the morning of July 22, 2007;
The male Rufous photos on July 24th.

A male and female Rufous, a male Calliope, and about 16 - 20 Black-chinned Hummingbirds can be seen simultaneously during prime, mid-July, evening feeding time.

See note on hummingbird migration, below.
Hummingbird photo tips, below.

Comments and/or corrections appreciated - use email link above.

Feeder most preferred by my birds:

 

N 35° 11.7' W 106° 38.8'


Female Rufous in aggressive display


Calliope male


Rufous male


Black-chinned male


Rufous female


Black-chinned female (or juvenile male?)


Rufous & Black-chinned females


Calliope male


Is this a female Calliope?


Black-chinned male


A Note on Hummingbird Migration

I wondered why the Rufous and Calliope birds didn't show up until mid-July. Then I was reading the book by Albuquerque resident and hummingbird expert, Dan True, Hummingbirds of North America: Attracting, Feeding, and Photographing and found the answer.

Very briefly, in the summer there is often a high pressure center over the Great Basin in the western U.S. Since the hummers are smart they prefer to migrate with a tail wind. That wind circulation matches the migration pattern of some of the western species, especially Rufous. This brings them up along the west coast in the spring to their nesting grounds in Montana, then as summer progresses many birds, including Calliopes, follow the circulation down through the intermountain states and ultimately to Mexico/Central America for the winter.

Mr. True includes an appendix which includes the timing of hummingbird migration for many states and areas. For Albuquerque (Rio Grande Valley), the earliest reported arrival, April 2, Black-chinned; April 8, Broad-tailed; July 14, Rufous; July 13, Calliope. Latest departures: Sept 18, Calliope; Sept 30, Rufous; Oct 3, Broad-tailed; and Oct 5, Black-chinned.

 

Photo Technique

I received a suggestion to share my hummer photo techinque. It is simplicity itself.

1. Stand right next to feeder, as close as 12" to 18", in favorable, natural light.
2. Manually focus on feeder so your autofocus won't set itself on the background.
3. Hold very still with camera pointed to where you expect the hummer to be. It will take a few minutes for the birds to become accustomed to you and ignore you completely.
4. Click when hummer is in front of your camera.

Not much of a technique is it? When I was trying to get the Calliope, which feeds only intermittently, I used a tripod just so my arms wouldn't get tired holding the camera while I waited (I kept my hands on the camera ready to snap); otherwise the technique is the same.

I found I could slowly move the camera a little bit, to aim at one side of the feeder or the other, without frightening off the birds. If you have a digital camera, you may be able to hold the shutter release partway down (you can feel the detent) which sets the exposure and makes the process of capturing the image quicker. You will get lots of out-of-focus and out-of-frame shots, so if you are digital take lots and lots of photos, then just save the good ones. I used the viewfinder, not the screen, to frame my shots as the screen is hard to see in the bright light.