Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hummingbirds of Florida Mountain

I shoot hummingbirds every summer here in the mountains in Massachusetts. I find them to be highly intelligent and quite personable, with each bird having a unique personality. For me it is an intense time where I am behind the camera usually from sunup to sundown for 4-6 weeks. In that time I get to know the resident male for that period and, if I'm lucky, I can train him and hopefully he doesn't get kicked out by a more aggressive, less trainable male.

The summer of 2007 was an incredible season, which saw a very trainable male grace my yard for approximately 3 weeks. No matter what flower I asked him to go to, he would check it out allowing me to get at least a few shots. I got the feeling I could have asked him to check out a baked ham and he would of, lol . After a short while my camera equipment and I became just another of his perches, where he would sit between feedings. I tried not to encourage him to perch on me, thinking a little fear of humans is probably a good thing for him to have. But I must admit, every time he landed on me it took my breath away (Seriously, I would have to remind myself to breathe, lol.). Here he is feeding from my hand:

And here he is in action:

So it was with high hopes that I entered the 2008 season, but success was to prove elusive. Turns out the resident male for that season was a highly aggressive, "unfriendly" male. He was nearly impossible to get a shot of and he attacked and chased away nearly every hummingbird that entered the property. He also had a square head, lol. Here he is:

The time wasn't a complete waste for me. I did manage to get a few shots of this female (note: she's doing her part for dandelion propagation ):

Still, in spite of the few photos I was able to get, my frustrations mounted. They were only alleviated one day when an apparently wise hummingbird visited the yard. Instead of going directly to the feeders or flowers (like all of the others) he sought out the resident male, chased him out of the yard and then went to the feeders, lol. Smart. Here he is:

Alas, this male was only passing through and shortly after this photo old "square head" came back to claim his territory. After only a few more days of frustration I called it a season.

The summer of 2009 was, unfortunately, dedicated to much needed home improvement. I was only able to shoot on one day. Although that was the bad news, the good news is that old "square head" didn't come back.

So, it is renewed hope that I look forward to the summer of 2010 and the arrival of the hummingbirds. For more of Ian's hummingbirds, visit here.

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