Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Little Bird, Little Bird

I'm going to postpone my next but of travelogue for tonight, along with my response to TJ's tag on a meme. You see, I had a little encounter after work tonight that caused me to take an entry's worth of photos--and then some. Here are the best of them, such as they are:

Hey, is that a bird on that sage bush? A little, tiny bird?

Why, yes! It's a female Black-chinned Hummingbird!
(Well, I'm almost sure!)

She was between me and my car, but she barely moved as I walked carefully around her, taking flash photos. It was nearly sunset, but I left the camera on automatic, reasoning that a longer exposure would not help without a tripod. Even a decent digital camera and an amazingly cooperative hummingbird couldn't overcome the lighting conditions well enough to give me a really sharp picture of such a tiny subject.

Once I reached the car, I took a peek at my photos in camera, and decided to try again. This wasn't the closest picture I took, but it's the best. I got within about five feet of her, ultimately, before I decided that I'd pushed my luck and her patience far enough. She watched me, but she didn't fly away, or even scold me, as hummers near that spot have been doing for the last couple of days. She's clearly not on a nest, so I don't know what she was up to. It's kind of unusual to see a hummingbird perched just two feet off the ground. Feeding, yes. Perched, no.

This last shot is to give you a sense of scale and context, and some idea how close I was. I got several steps closer than this, with the zoom on maximum. But it really was a tiny, tiny bird!

I should explain, although I've mentioned this before, that Southeastern Arizona has more hummingbird species than anywhere else in the country - about 15, I think. Not all of them turn up in Tucson, though. Some are mostly in Madera Canyon, Ramsey Canyon (which has a hummingbird refuge), and other riparian habitats (i.e., with running water). Most of the best hummingbird habitats are at a higher elevation than here. Here in town we mostly get Anna's Hummingbird in winter, Black-chinned and Costa's in summer. But heck, most of you folks Back East only get one hummingbird species, so nyah-nyah! And I mean that in the politest possible way.

Tomorrow: Strange, Unique, Made, Gift...Pig?


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Carly said...


This is stunning! I love the color of that bird...oh so precious!

DesLily said...

i love hummingbirds of any kind! DeForest and Carolyn had a feeder beside their window and we'd see hummingbirds all the time in CA.. cute as anything.. great pics Karen!

JessN said...

I used to take photos of hummingbirds in south Alabama (otherwise known as LA) with a manual Pentax. I wish I knew where those photos were now, they turned out really good, as I recall. Sadly, they ended up being causualties of my divorce nine years ago.

Still, this little one is beautiful. I love hummingbirds because of how they seem to embody motion and color all at once.