Birding is such hard work

We sit quietly in chairs placed strategically near bird feeders, waiting expectantly with cameras on laps and binoculars glued to eyes, searching for that iconic shot of some new bird we’ve never seen before, or a better shot of a bird we have seen many times before. When we’ve exhausted the possibilities at one site, we get in the car and move on to the next one. It’s such hard work…(not). But it’s the thrill of the hunt for the best shot that keeps us going from place to place.

From my chair I could see hummingbirds coming to any one of six feeders (two shown here), but most were too far away to get good close-ups of the action. Oranges, jars of grape jelly, platforms with seed, and containers of suet mix were spread out in the trees in front of us — a real bird buffet. All we had to do was sit and wait for birds to show up.

In Portal, Arizona, in the foothills of the Chiricahua mountains, you are welcome to visit the backyards of the local residents to sit and photograph the birds that visit their feeders. At this particular backyard, a Roadrunner (lower left of the photo) walked through the backyard looking for an unwary bird to capture. It made a half-hearted attempt to lunge at a hummer on one of the feeders in the photo above, but gave up and moved on. We heard it had grabbed and eaten a Cactus Wren just a half hour before.

This is a collage of the Broad-billed Hummingbird’s approach to the feeder. If the bird catches the light just right, it shows off it’s beautiful iridescent blue and green feathers. Photos taken at 1/2000th of a second stop the rapid wing action as the bird hovers in place. Click on the image to view it in full screen.
Even though the feeder is large in comparison to their size, hummingbirds aren’t very tolerant of others trying to feed at the same time they are. Here, a female Blue-throated hummer feeding on the left is much larger than the approaching make Broad-billed Hummingbird, and just her presence there is enough to make him hesitate to settle on the feeder.

8 thoughts on “Birding is such hard work

  1. The only hummingbirds that I have ever photographed were ruby-throated hummingbirds, so these look so exotic, Sue. I tend to get fidgety when sitting in one place waiting for photographs and generally prefer wandering about and opportunistically shooting what I see.

  2. What a fabulous road trip. Every blog has some new destination or route I would like to take, assuming all birds seen wait for my arrival. Your trip just gets better and better- watching the hummers and roadrunner.

  3. Hi, great fotos ! kinda boring? Are you still on schedule to arrive here the afternoon of on 4/19 ? Great. just want to be sure. Will we see you the next morn at all ? BSJ

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