Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird landing on a favorite perch – Nikon D500, f8, 1/500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I learned very early on to watch the behaviors of my subjects because it helped me to create better and more interesting photos of birds and wildlife, the more I know about them the better equipped I am to anticipate what they might do next and it truly does comes in handy. It did two days ago.
For several weeks I have been seeing a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird perching on and defending his favorite perch but nearly every time I saw him he had his back to me so I had minimal eye contact in the photos I took plus I could barely make out the vivid colors in his gorget due to the light angle being wrong. Every time I have gone into the canyon I have watched for this bird to be facing me.
Two days ago knowing his tendency to be on the same perch I hit the jackpot, the male hummingbird kept landing and perching facing me and the road. I have learned that hummingbird males are very defensive about their favorite perches and will chase off any intruders that come near it then land back on the same perch when they have finished chasing them off.
The male Broad-tailed Hummingbird lifted off from the perch so I pre-focused on it, listened for him to come back then when I heard the bird get close to the perch I fired off a burst of shots and captured him in a landing position with the vivid color of his gorget showing plus I got lucky and had eye contact too. This was my first photo of him that day.
Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird on his favorite perch – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
It was wonderful to have the hummingbird facing me for a change because of the eye contact and how his gorget seemed to glow. There were distant willows along a creek behind the bird and they were far enough away to create this silky green background behind the hummingbird. I wish I would have had this kind of background behind the Gray Catbird I photographed on the same morning instead of the messy ones I was stuck with.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird male sticking out his tongue – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
There were times when the little male hummingbird turned south or north that the colors of his gorget didn’t show simply because of the angle of light and while I prefer those colors to show there are times when the behavior of the bird is interesting enough that having those colors show aren’t as important to me.
While I watched the hummingbird preen through my viewfinder I saw his tongue protruding from the tip of his bill and started to fire a bursts of shots in the hope that I would photograph his tongue while fully extended. Jackpot again. This photo might have been better if the pink colors of his gorget were showing but I like this image and the bird’s behavior a lot. Look at that tongue!
I had hoped to stay longer and photograph this Broad-tailed Hummingbird a bit longer but a vehicle came down the narrow road and we had to move on. I do hope to see and photograph him again.
Life is good.