These sprites were gracious to greet us and pose for pictures at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens. Though they seem pretty relaxed, they are obviously very conscientious about their public image and work hard at keeping up their home and garden landscaping.
You can enjoy a larger view of either image by simply clicking on it.
Even though hummingbirds are very tiny birds, their very tiny feet seem to be too small for their size. When you have the opportunity to actually look at a hummingbirds feet (not an easy feat, in itself) they look like tiny strands of wire.
According to worldofhummingbirds.com…
Hummingbird’s feet are not for walking. Hummingbirds do not use their feet for launching upward in flight, They let their wings do all of this work. Hummingbirds use their feet for scratching and perching. They will perch for most of their lives. Hummingbirds have four (4) toes. Three (3) toes in the front and one (1) toe, also called the hallux in the back of the foot. The hallux works much the same way a human’s thumb does and allows the hummingbird to hang on to a branch or wire.
Hummingbird legs are extremely small, short, and stubby to reduce weight. They are also quite weak. Because of this, hummingbirds do not hop.
To take a closer look at those tiny feet, click on the photo.
Here’s a view of this morning’s sunrise (07/14/11) from my back yard – taken at the edge of a farm field.
Our home is surrounded by farm fields. It gives a mostly clear view of the sky in all directions. Which is why take a lot of sunrises and sunsets.
The panorama image below was taken the same morning, a little earlier than the above view.
To see a larger version of either image, simply click on the photo.
Ooops! How embarrassing! With all the hundreds of hummingbird photos I’ve been taking, it was bound to happen. This male, ruby-throated hummingbird, in all his glory, decided to take a potty break just as the shutter snapped.
I can only imagine the bathroom jokes and juvenile laughter circulating out there right now. Come on now, it’s a natural part of life. Everyone does it, right? (Although, hopefully, not in broad daylight in front of photographer.)
For those who are curious as to how the excretory system works in hummingbirds. Here’s some info from Operation Ruby Throat at www.rubythroat.org…
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s excretory system is typical of other birds, with paired kidneys. Liquid waste separates from digestible items in the gastrointestinal tract and goes to the kidneys, where liquid waste and ammonia (converted to uric acid before reaching the kidneys) are filtered out. Urine travels from each kidney through the ureter to the cloaca, where it mixes with solid wastes. There is no urinary bladder–yet another weight-reduction mechanism that makes flight easier–and wastes are expelled as they are produced.
(If you’re not too embarrassed and would like to see a larger version, just click on the photo.)
It happened so fast, I didn’t see this at the time I took the photo. This female, ruby-throated hummingbird was sticking her tongue out at me at the precise moment of the shutter snap.
It’s too bad you can’t see it clearly because the tongue was moving so fast and was out of the range of focus.
Here are some fascinating facts about the hummingbird tongue from www.worldofhummingbirds.com …
The tongue on a hummingbird is very long. It is grooved like the shape of a “W”. On the tip of the tongue are brushy hairs that help lap up nectar from a flower. A hummingbird can lap up nectar at a rate of about thirteen (13) licks per second. Hummingbirds have only a few taste buds on the tongue. Hummingbirds can taste just enough to know what is good and what is bad. They can also taste what is too sweet, not sweet enough, or just right.
(To see a larger version of this image, just click on the photo.)
hum·ding·er/ˈhəmˈdiNGər / Noun: A remarkable or outstanding person or thing of its kind.
There’s little that compares to the dazzle of a male ruby-throated humming bird when the light hits it just right. If you’re able to watch one while he’s perched, you’ll see flashes of brilliant red with just a slight turn of his head.
Even though the sunlight is coming more from behind this bird, I used a shiny surface to reflect some of that sunlight to the front side, bringing out the colors of his gorget (the neck area).
(Click the image to see a larger version.)
I had plenty to accomplish this morning before going to work. My mind wasn’t on photography, but when I stepped out our back door (on my way to fill the bird feeders for the day) I was captivated by this amazing morning sky. I had stuff to do. I already have plenty of sunrises in my photo collection. (Just browse through this blog or type “sunrise” in the search box.) Still, I couldn’t help myself. I had to grab this image. This was a morning I wish I was at one of the nearby harbors – to catch the reflection off the water, too.
This is actually the compilation of seven separate photos “stitched” together. The blog page, because of its size limitations, doesn’t do it justice. If you click on the photo, you can see a larger version…but, in my opinion, it’s still too small to get anywhere close to the full effect.
Hummingbirds are fascinating and beautiful…the perfect subject to photograph…and one of the most challenging.
This is an image I captured early last Saturday morning (6/24/11). I spent a couple of hours and snapped more than 400 photos to come up with a handful of worthwhile images.
Snapping more than 400 photos sounds a lot harder than it was. My camera has a setting that allows me to press and hold the shutter button and take up to 10 frames per second. With that kind of speed, you can knock out an SD card full of images pretty quick.
The greatest challenge, at least for me, is to capture the birds in focus. When in flight, they are constantly zipping in and out, back and forth, up and down. I had an embarrassing amount of empty frames, where the bird had left the field of view before I could snap…or stop snapping. When I did catch the bird in the frame, they often were blurry.
With enough patience, some experimentation and a bit of dumb luck, I was able to get a few “keepers.” This is a good example. I’ll be posting a few more in the next few days, so check back.
(Click the image to see a larger version.)
These blue birds look like their belting out a favorite song in three-part harmony. Actually, they are hoping someone will drop a worm or bug in their mouths. The wide open mouths are a response to a soft whistle from me. Even though I don’t sound anything like a blue bird, the whistle is close enough to make them think lunch is being served.
These blue birds are about a week old and progressing along nicely. However, not everyone in the brood has fared so well. Before the hatch I counted six eggs. It appears that four hatched and survived, but we found one of the four dead and removed it from the nest. (Surprised that the parents hadn’t removed it, since it had been dead for awhile and was smelling really bad.)
They have a couple of weeks to go before they are ready to take to the wing. It’s going to get very crowded in that little box by the time they fledge. There were five that survived to fledgling stage last year. That box was really crowded.
(Click on either image to see a larger version.)