The First Visit
Shortly after moving into our home in the country, a male hummingbird came to visit me. I was standing on our open deck in early May when a male Ruby-Throated hummingbird flew right up to me. It hovered for a few moments, made eye contact, and behaved as if it were curious about me. I had never encountered a hummingbird in this way before. The experience changed my life.
Immediately, I went out and bought a hummingbird feeder. What I thought was a single hummingbird, returned to visit our feeder every day. I found the bird to be quite friendly. If I was outside wearing a colorful shirt, the hummingbird would fly right up to me. Inspect my clothing to make sure I wasn’t a flower, and then fly away.
At the end of the summer after hanging my first hummingbird feeder, my mother asked if I wanted hers. She had hung hers out all summer long, but never saw a hummingbird. I took her feeder, filled it, and hung it opposite the other feeder, several feet away. At that moment something magical happened. Dozens of hummingbirds flocked to the two feeders. They began lining up on our chain link fence, and in the surrounding trees waiting their turn to take a drink.
The following summer I bought an additional feeder to accommodate the flock of hummingbirds I expected to return. Sure enough, during the first week of May, dozens of hummingbirds came to feed. The hummingbirds quickly grew tolerant of my constant watching, and let me approach very closely.
About the same time, I purchased my first digital camera, the Olympus C765. I never thought I could take a photograph of a hummingbird with a point and shoot camera, but I was challenged to do so. It wasn’t long before I learned to capture them in flight. I don’t think my hummingbird photos would be possible if not for the large number of Ruby-Throated hummingbirds that migrate here each year. We see them constantly. I’ve learned where they perch and how they behave. Patience was never an issue. If I missed a shot, there was always another hummingbird following quickly behind.
In the summer of 2011 it was suggested I try to hand feed our hummingbirds. Late in the season, I began sitting for a couple of hours each day, with sugar water in my hand. Although many hummingbirds came very close, none actually fed from my hand. Trying to hand feed hummingbirds did require a great deal of patience, and I frequently became frustrated. After about two weeks of sitting daily, I decided to change my strategy. I dressed in red and held a bee balm flower in my mouth. I was pleasantly surprised, it didn’t take long for one of the hummingbirds to feed on the flower I was holding in my mouth. It was a very exciting moment, one I will never forget!
The first hummingbird that came to visit changed everything for me. Now they are like guardian angels, and I feel so blessed to have them around.
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Walk softly, let nature be your guide…
Fine Art Photographer