Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird Defending His Favorite Perch

/, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, Utah/Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird Defending His Favorite Perch

Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird landing on a favorite perch, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahMale 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, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahMale 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, Little Emigration Canyon, Morgan County, UtahBroad-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.

Mia

9 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover June 11, 2018 at 9:26 am - Reply

    Wonderful work displayed in these great images. Thanks for sharing your tricks of the trade.

  2. Sybill Reed June 11, 2018 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Oh my!!! I need a Cup with all his poses! You make my heart so happy for you and all your wonderful Photo’s! Thanks so much for sharing1 love mom

  3. Elephants Child June 10, 2018 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Those colours in the gorget in the first photo look like sequins. But sooooo much better.
    What an iridescent charmer.

  4. Patty Chadwick June 10, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Too get a clear shot of a hummingbird is an accomplishment…to get the tongue is almost impossible,,,but you did it! Love the first two shots especially…good work!!!

  5. Colleen June 10, 2018 at 8:24 am - Reply

    It’s interesting how much the sun makes a difference on the colors of his gorget. Looks completely different! And I also enjoyed looking at the bits of pollen on his beak in the first picture.

  6. April Olson June 10, 2018 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Lovely again! I have a yard full again, they are such feisty spitfires.

  7. Ken Schneider June 10, 2018 at 6:25 am - Reply

    They turned out beautifully and were worth waiting (and planning) for.

  8. Bob mcpherson June 10, 2018 at 6:05 am - Reply

    Gorgeous photos, Mia

  9. Liz Cormack June 10, 2018 at 5:11 am - Reply

    The male Broad-tailed Hummingbird almost looks angry in the second photo. What wonderful photos you got. That tongue is amazing.

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