Readers’ wildlife photos

November 20, 2021 • 8:00 am

Do send in your photos, as I have less than a week’s worth left, and this feature will die without readers’ help. Thanks!

Today we have some extra hummingbird photos from Emilio d’Alise, whose insect and bird photos have appeared in previous posts.  Here are his notes from an earlier one, and then Emilio’s photos and tentative IDs.  This intro is from an earlier post:

I lived in Colorado for 11 years and Colorado has eight species of hummingbirds, but during my time there, I’ve only been able to capture photos of three species (the ones that came to feeders I had up):

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Rufus Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird

The photos I sent are a sampling from this 2012 blog post, and the SmugMug Gallery for that post is at this LINK. Anyone interested in the technical aspects of the photos (ISO, shutter speed, f-stop, etc) can find it by clicking on the “i” icon in SmugMug.

All of the photos were shot by me on my deck, often just a few feet from the birds. Almost all the photos are cropped for composition and to isolate the subject. In Colorado, I has something like twelve feeders around the house and went through about 25 to 30 pounds of sugar per season, all the more impressive because it’s a short season (they get there in late May and by mid-to-late September, they’re all pretty much gone).

Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Females, probably broad-tails, females or immatures:

Broad-tails, probably immature males:

Emilio calls this as a ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) female:

These he says are rufous immature males. [If you spot an error in any of these, please note it in the comments.]

15 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Beautiful pictures! Remarkably close on these. In a couple pictures of the rufous the bird is captured mid-blink, and I think one can see that they have tiny feathers for eyelashes.

  2. Remarkable photos! It’s amazing to me how metallic some of the feathers on such birds can appear. I guess it has to do with the light-scattering characteristics of the feather strands…or something like that. At least, I know that’s how birds get their blue colors. Maybe the metallic character is related to something else.

  3. Beautiful! I love photographing the hummingbirds at our (one, only) feeder, too, but don’t get shots as nice as these. It is remarkable indeed that if standing still, one can get quite close to them.

    1. Thank you. Every year, I make it a point to get one or more to land on my finger to feed. And, yes, the key is to stand still. I also wear sunglasses because I’ve noticed some react to eye movements (took me a while to figure that out).

  4. Here in Michigan the female ruby throat has a plain white/cream colored throat. It is the only hummer we have. Your pics are stunning.

    1. Thank you. I lived in Michigan for 26 years and Ruby-throated hummers is all I could photograph. Colorado was a welcome change in that regard.

      I’m now back in Illinois and once again it’s back to only one type (Ruby-throated).

  5. Some nice studies in these 11 photos of the birds’ feet!
    Mostly, it’s how the feet work to grasp something.
    To make their toes work, they HAVE TO sit down.
    This seems to be true of all birds I have paid attention to.
    Think of a chicken roosting all night on a rod or a branch —
    Does it have to exert muscles to maintain that grip?
    I dont think so.
    In photo #1, is the bird exerting muscular effort the grasp that perch?
    I don’t think so — its feet just grasp when it allows its weight to bend its ankles.
    See how its tummy is touching the perch?
    That’s becuz its ankles are fully bent.
    [What we think are a bird’s knees are really its ankles!]
    [The long skinny bone just above a bird’s foot is really its fused metatarsals.]
    [In photo #3 we can see a bit of the metatarsals.]
    In photo #2, the right foot will fully grasp the perch when its ankle is fully bent.
    At this moment, it is still reaching for the perch.
    In photo #3, the feet are tightly grasping the perch, & the ankles are fully bent.
    In photos #7 & #11 the feet are tucked up under the birds’ tummies, & their toes are clenched.
    Next time you get a chance, manipulate a bird’s legs & watch this marvelous mechanism!

    1. Interesting, and learned something new; thank you.

      . . . however, I don’t think I’ll be handling birds anytime soon. I mean, I know I would get quite cross as someone manipulating my legs to see how they work.

  6. Gorgeous photos. 3 out of 8 isn’t so bad- especially since you captured them beautifully. My favorite around here (western WA) is Anna’s. The male’s pink head is always a thrill to see; I haven’t been able to get a photo though.

    1. Thank you.

      Anna’s range covers Colorado, but I’ve never saw one while I was there. In fact. I only saw four of the eight species that are supposedly there during the summer or while migrating.

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