Rumble at the feeder! One thing I’ve learned from Stephen Barnard and other readers is that hummingbirds, however cute, are tough little bastards, constantly fighting each other over access to territory, food, and females. But somehow that makes them even cuter.
Stephen, who’s been watching and photographing a lot of hummingbirds lately, has now taken to making videos. Fortunately, they’re on Flickr and I can embed them here. So today we have two reader photographs (a hummingbird and a common nighthawk), and two videos of hummers. Stephen’s captions are indented:
The Rufous Hummingbird shot shows a surprise attack at the feeder. I’ve been shooting some decent hummer videos and putting them on Facebook. I’ll try uploading to Flickr and send you links.
And two hummer videos:
“Hummer feeding frenzy”:
“Black-chinned pwns Rufous”:
The second photo:
There are dozens of Common Nighthawks [Chordelles minor] feeding over the creek right now.
19 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos (and videos!)”
You can hear a Red-tailed Hawk calling in the first video.
Very nice! Are the videos of the hummingbirds slightly slowed down? I thought the wings would be a blur.
I set the shutter speed to 1/4000 to reduce motion blur. The Canon 5D3 does good video. I’ve only just started to play with it seriously.
Some guy in (I believe) SOuth Africa was claiming that the last photo was of a Nightjar. He obviously is not good at spotting Nightjars. 🙂
But nighthawks are a genus of nightjars. They’re easy to spot in the air, but try them on a tree branch: not so simple.
To be clear, he was claiming it was a nightjar and NOT a nighthawk.
Did he have a particular species in mind?
No. Just a nightjar. That’s like calling mallard a duck or a wolf a canid — correct, but not specific.
Hummingbirds are amazing, so small. How many times do their wings flap a second? At my cottage we have a feeder like the one in the videos and everyday it is like a World War I dogfight between the birds. They chase each all around the trees.
Cheers for the cool videos and pic!
My magic window says they are typically 50 times/sec., but can go possibly as high as 200 times/sec. I expect the rate will differ with size. There are some pretty big hummingbirds out there…
Very nice,thanks. I love the nighthawks!
Wow, that last photo of the nighthawk is absolutely fabulous. I have real trouble getting focused flight shots for most birds. Any tips Stephen? What focusing mode and any little tricks?
You need a very good DSLR and a very good telephoto lens. If you’re using a Canon, use AI servo mode for AF, spot focus, spot exposure. I usually start at f/8 aperture priority and ISO 1000, and adjust as needed. Don’t use manual mode — too much to deal with. Use the AF-on button to lock focus and track the bird, shooting away in rapid-fire mode. Discard >99% of your photos.
But how on earth do you stay on the bird?!
I take about 100 photos and keep one.
Seriously, though, the AI Servo mode does a pretty good job once you lock on to focus and exposure.
Re ” hummingbirds, however cute, are tough little bastards,” brings to mind a National Geographic article of several years ago on hummingbirds, in which it was suggested that if hunningbirds were the size of crows, the forests would not be safe.