Falling in love with Hummingbirds

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Hummingbird at the feeder – ISO 800; f 5.6; 1/320

Many of my friends have had hummingbird feeders at different points in their lives    They would put a feeder out and be over joyed when a hummingbird would visit regularly.  I would nod my head and agree that hummingbirds were amazing – but not being a bird person, in many ways I did not see the point.

This summer, in New Brunswick,  I had the opportunity to watch families of hummingbirds over a period of time.  I found them fascinating.  There were 15 or 16 hummingbirds that were living in two trees and feeding from two hummingbird feeders.  They visited the feeders most frequently  in the early morning and evening.  Often, all of the feeding stations would be busy, and other hummingbirds  hovered about the feeder waiting their turn.

The feeder had to be replenished often with that many birds feeding from it.  Sometimes one of the hummingbirds would hover looking through the kitchen window – as if he was saying “what is taking so long”, when they were waiting for a refill.

It was fascinating to read about them on-line.  One of the best sites that I found was World of Hummingbirds  I learned that when hummingbirds  migrate for the winter the males leave first and then are followed a few weeks later by the females.  That is exactly what happened.  There was a greater drain than usual on the feeder in the first part of august and then suddenly the males were gone.  A few weeks later the females left too.  I read on-line that you should leave the feeder out for a few weeks – even when you think that all the hummingbirds have left as sometimes there are stragglers going through.  They could be hummingbirds that got a late start or a bird that was born late in the season and is only just ready to start the long journey south.  Today I was amazed to see two hummingbirds at the feeder when there had been none all week.  I was glad that we could help them along the way.  I look forward to their return in the spring.

photography tips

Taking pictures of hummingbirds was a photography challenge for me.  They are so small and fast and flit from one spot to another.  I was lucky that there were so many hummingbirds that were gathered in the one area.  I used a tripod with a ball head  This provided stability for my camera and yet let me move the camera to follow the action. I also used a fast shutter speed and a higher ISO setting.  I like  the feeling of motion  when I capture  the blur of the wing as in the picture above .

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