Black-chinned Hummingbirds Putting On A Show

Black-chinned aren’t as colorful as the Rufous Hummingbirds I also photographed on these wild flowers but they gave me more interesting poses and behaviors.

 

1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I photographed them on Antelope Island a few weeks ago as they were slurping nectar from wild Rocky Mountain Bee Plant. I like this photo for its clean background and the sharpness of both bird and flower.

 

 

1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

This shot is a little more cluttered and the flower is somewhat soft but there’s something subtle going on here that tickles my fancy. This bird is in full flight but it almost looks like it’s perched on the unopened flower because of the position of the flower under the bird and the fact that the hummer has hooked one of its claws over the tip of one flower bud. I’m sure it was deliberate but I can only guess as to why – perhaps it’s because the flowers were swaying in a slight breeze and this was the bird’s way of stabilizing the flower and/or itself in the breeze.

Whatever the reason I’m always highly impressed by the delicate movements and incredible control of hummingbirds in flight.

 

 

1/5000, f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

One of the birds that morning even perched for me on a close twig and displayed a variety of interesting poses. This is a leisurely (for a hummingbird at least) wing and neck stretch. At f/5.6 and this focal length my depth of field was extremely shallow so the tail isn’t sharp but even so the bird sure looks like it’s enjoying the stretch – so much that it closed its eyes just like I do when I stretch in a similar way.

 

 

1/4000, f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I always enjoy catching hummers with their tongues out and the bird was considerate enough to give me a side view so both tongue and bill are sharp from tip to tip. That tongue is an amazingly efficient tool for harvesting nectar and we’ve recently learned more about how it works. It’s more complicated than I can go into here but if you’re interested check out this link.

 

 

1/4000, f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

Most folks think of a bird’s bill as being rigid and inflexible but that’s far from the case in many species. The hummer very briefly demonstrated rhynchokinesis – the ability of some birds to “bend” their bills. Usually (though not always) when this happens it’s so fast that I don’t even notice it until I’m reviewing my images at home, as was the case here.

Most of our hummingbirds are gone now so I thought I’d post a few more images of them while they’re still (barely) “in season”. It’s going to be a long winter without them.

Ron

Late addendum: If you’re interested in seeing a hummingbird with a tongue that’s about 2.5 times longer than its bill (and an explanation for it) check out this link from Wickersham’s Conscience.

 

 

 

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