“Why do birds suddenly appear…?” Hummingbird pics pt2

I hope you enjoyed my last post about the hummingbirds that have been visiting us this summer. I really get a kick out of watching them out the window while drawing. They are very fascinating birds.

The other morning I let our cats Harley Quinn and Jarael outside and was having breakfast out on the back patio. I looked up and some of my little flying friends were back doing the same!

I was amazed by how loud their wings sounded as they buzzed overhead at the two feeders we have hanging. They would fly forwards, backwards, and hover before landing to enjoy a quick meal.

A couple would chase each other, buzzing and chirping. I’ve read they are very territorial of their feeding spots, and after some of the mid-air “dog fights” I’ve witnessed between them I believe it! I’ve never seen two sit and have a drink together. Apparently they like to drink alone.

Another thing I noticed was that they were flying from my house over the fence and to a tree in my neighbor’s back yard, and then back again. They had a flight pattern they seemed to follow.

They took turns- one would chase the other off their tree or feeder perch, fly around the back yard, or zoom over the house and out of sight- but they would soon return. There were at least two green ones, and a greyish one, too. The green ones were very vibrant, and the grey one(s) had a slight blue or red tint when the sun hit them just right. Really pretty.

They are amazingly fast, and would tease my cats by hovering, turning to look at them and me, and then zooming out of sight as quickly as they had appeared. Sometimes only the sound of them hovering or buzzing extremely close by my head gave them away. We had a few dragonflies buzzing around the back yard, as well as a couple butterflies, but they never stayed still long enough for me to get a shot of either. I may have to go to the Memphis Botanical Gardens again for those shots. My wife Nicki and I had our engagement photos taken there last year. It’s a gorgeous place to visit- near the U of M and Dixon Gallery and Gardens between Park and Southern.

The hummingbirds really liked to hang out in the tree after drinking, so I picked up Nicki’s Nikon D5100, slowly moved across the backyard closer to the fence line, and waited. The neighbor’s tree was just on the other side of it just a couple feet away. I tried not to make any sudden moves. Soon I saw a small blur speeding my way.

With a little patience, luck, and a 55-300mm lens I was able to “catch” them. Luckily for them- it was me and not the cats that caught them! You couldn’t tell it by how many times they ate/drank at my house, but apparently they only spend about 10–15% of their time feeding and 75–80% resting and digesting. They eat many small meals, but can easily eat more than their own body weight each day. Their metabolism is very high, but they can slow it down at night or when food is scarce, entering a hibernation state called torpor. They also can store fat for migration like other birds.

These tiny birds were performing incredible aerial maneuvers, and I was amazed to watch them perch on a leaf! There was a good breeze blowing that day. The branches in the small tree would sway back and forth, taking the tiny hummingbirds with them. It made catching them in focus very hard to do. It also made their landings a bit more tricky for them, but they managed to deal with it. Reminded me of a navy pilot landing on an aircraft carrier in rough seas. Amazing skills!

I had heard they had long tongues, but had never seen one in person. They would make Gene Simmons of KISS proud! I tried to get a shot of one fully extended, but only got this one which showed only about half out. “Gene” had just been to the feeder and seemed to be “licking his lips” as his tongue shot in and out of his beak.

Soon they will be leaving this area and flying south to Mexico or Central America. Hopefully they’ll find their way back here next spring.

I love having them visit and they are welcome around our home anytime.

Lin

 

 

Lin

Lin has been an artist and screen printer in the t-shirt industry for over 25 years and was a graphic artist designing monuments for 5 years. Lin is the creator of the web-comic Scared Silly and was co-creator of the self-published comic book series Bushi Tales (with Pencil Neck Studios partner Dave Beaty). He currently runs a geek travel blog and cartoon site- HaveGeekWillTravel.com. Lin has also done his fair share of freelance art for clients such as Coca-Cola, the Memphis Riverkings (CHL), Topps, Kevin Paige (CD cover art), 96X, and Rock103.. Lin has done mural work for Pancho’s, McDonald’s and Fitzgerald’s Casino, and his artwork has also appeared in The Memphis Flyer, Commercial Appeal, Airbrush Action Magazine, Amazing Figure Modeler, Stargodz (comic book with Conquest Studios), on Rock103 (Wake Up Crew web comic) and The Outdoor Channel’s websites, the MSCA (Mid-South Cartoonists Association) comics It Came From Beneath The Drawing Board and Overdrawn and Underwritten, in author Christa Michael’s first book – Ramblings With Redde: Why Does My Life Seem Like A Bad “B” Flick?, and Comic Geek Speak’s CGS:The End comic. Lin was a volunteer for the Memphis Ronald McDonald House, and an artist and scare-crew member for the Haunted Web Of Horrors charity haunted house (which benefited Youth Villages). He was named the Memphis Ronald McDonald House’s Special Events Volunteer of the Year in 2001, and again with RMH ‘A-Team’ and Nightmarez/HauntedWeb.com co-horts Patrick French and Todd Patton in 2002. He was awarded the “Superman Of Metropolis” award as a guest artist at the 2005 Metropolis Superman Celebration, and was the Artist Guest Of Honor at ShadowconXIII in 2009 and in 2012. He has also won two M.A.R.S. (Memphis Area Radio Stations) awards for writing and voicing radio commercials, and was awarded a 2012 President’s Volunteer Service Award by Volunteer Northwest Mississippi, a volunteer center of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, in conjunction with the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation and the Corporation for National & Community Service. Lin served as the President and Vice-President of the Mid-South Cartoonists Association (MSCA) for 4 years and 9 years, respectively. He is currently a member of the MSCA and DeSoto Arts Council in North Mississippi. He is married to Nicki Workman, and has 3 cats- Jarael, Harley Quinn, and Lex.

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2 Responses

  1. debora alexander says:

    what wonderful pictures….thanks for sharing…lots of fun to see

  2. Estelle says:

    I watched a show on channel 10 last night about them. They are beautiful birds. This photographer had caught them in slow motion it was amzing………. very interesting show.

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