Juvenile Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird

by - August 23, 2012

Once I have a curiosity about something, I quickly let it cross over to passion. It happened with art, guitar, writing, pottery, gardening, and now - for the past year or two - photographing birds. I don't "put a bird on it" as they do in Portlandia, and I'm not a good photographer as I've received no training and only have a point and shoot, but I love trying to get up close and capture them with the lens.

Last night just after the sun set and the garden was quickly getting dim, when the hummingbirds are most active at the feeder, I crouched just behind the fence right below the feeder and propped up the camera on a picket while angling the display screen where I could see it.There was one juvenile male ruby-throated hummingbird that was perching on a dried up gladiola stem only four or so feet from the feeder. I didn't witness him ever take a sip of the nectar, but he was focused on chasing away all competition. At one point, I felt either the flapping of his wings on my hair or it was just the wind, but he hovered just a few inches from me as he was scaring off a hungry female.

Each bird seems to have it's own preferred perch where it waits for the coast to clear at the feeder. One opts for a high up branch in a magnolia across the yard, another amongst the cluster of flowers in the adjacent crape myrtle, and this gent on the crispy flower stem. 

Just as I've gotten used to them and observed their behavior, they have shown comfort with me. After hovering in front of me and seeing I was just a curious onlooker, they go about their business of darting around the feeder, having near collisions in a high speed game of chicken, and chirping their business.

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