Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hummingbird mom feeding her offspring in Ramsey Canyon Preserve


I am still catching up on my photos from my trip to SE Arizona including this one of a Black-chinned Hummingbird feeding her offspring. Sorry it's not crisp, bright and clear but the youngster was on a branch shaded by tree leaves and I stayed more than 50 feet away (though they were only about 10 feet off the trail) in order to reduce disturbance. Because hummingbirds are so small it takes a long camera lens to photograph them and this was shot with a 50 times normal zoom. I have also enlarged the photo quite a bit so you can see her long bill is placed inside the baby’s bill to transfer the nectar. Ramsey Canyon is a popular place and a number of people walked by–if they walked too close the mom would leave or if out getting food she would not fly in by her baby so she didn’t give away the location. So it is important that those watching and photographing young birds keep their distance so they don’t interfere with feeding.

The photo just above is the young hummer, a fledgling, when a little sunlight filtered in so it has better color. Black-chinned Hummingbirds are metallic green on their upperparts and this young hummer shows that plumage. It even shows the broad white tips to it’s wings that are found on adult birds. However, the bill on this species is quite long but the young hummer’s bill is still pretty short. Since the young bird is out of the nest but still being fed by the mother it is considered a fledgling. SeEtta