Tips for photographing HUMMINGBIRDS and 6 fun facts

Tips for photographing HUMMINGBIRDS and 6 fun facts

As you probably already know I love birds, but hummingbirds hold a special place in my heart. They are the neatest little birds and they are so colorful! I recently spent some time in Arizona and really enjoyed photographing the cute birds. If you’re wondering where to find them, look everywhere! I saw them in the trees near our RV park, on the bushes and sonoran-desert-museum-20flowers outside the grocery store and out on hikes in the desert. How do you photograph these quick little birds? With lots and lots of patience. I literally will find a bench or place to sit near a flower they are frequenting and wait for them to come over to it. By no means are they easy to capture with a photo, but they sure do pay off if you give it time.

Tips for photographing hummingbirds blurred
blurred wings hummingbird
As for settings, make sure to have a quick shutter speed. This might require a higher ISO, but you won’t get clean wings to stop the action without that quick shutter speed. If you want to create blue at all, slow down the shutter speed. I usually shoot totally manual to give me total control of the end result. I also use a smaller aperture to blur the background.

After I spent some time with these amazing little birds, I was so curious how they work. So I did some research and found out some neat facts. They have…

1. HUGE BRAINS: A hummingbird’s brain makes up a whopping 4.2 percent of its weight; proportionally, that’s the largest of any bird. (By comparison, our brains are 2 percent of our body weight.)hummingbird enjoying flower 2. POWERFUL EYES: Hummingbirds have terrific vision: They can see every color we can, and their eyes can process ultraviolet light, which means they can also see some colors we can’t. On top of that, hummingbirds are among the many animals gifted with a third set of eyelids. These translucent flaps of skin known as nictitating membranes act like natural flight goggles, protecting the hummingbird’s eyes as the little bird zooms through the air. 3. BUILT-IN WEAPONS (BEAKS) Mating season can get a bit competitive for hummingbirds. Hummingbird males get aggressive. After a little bobbing and weaving, territorial males use their needle-like beaks like little shivs and have been known to stab each other in the throat. 4. STRANGE TONGUES Hummingbird tongueFor many, many years, birders and scientists believed that hummingbirds used their tongues like itsy-bitsy straws to suck up nectar. Then, in 2011, researchers revealed the strange truth: hummingbirds have forked tongues that are lined with fine hair-like extensions called lamellae. When the hummingbird starts drinking, the tongue’s forks opens, the lamellae unroll and curl around a drop of nectar. Then as the tongue is brought back into the mouth, the forks close and the lamellae trap the nectar. This fast technique allows the bird to drain between five and 10 drops of nectar from a flower within 15 milliseconds (about 100th of a second). 5. LOTS OF FEATHERS Tips for photographing hummingbirdsA hummingbird packs more feathers per inch than any other bird. The bright feathers on their throats scatter light like soap bubbles, creating some of nature’s most spectacular colors. These feathers are not just for show. When courting females, male hummingbirds make loud sounds with their tail feathers. They climb high into the air, and then dive past the females at speeds reaching 65 feet a second. As they swoop, the wind flutters through their tail feathers, causing squeaky sounds that are allegedly a huge turn-on for female hummingbirds. 6. AMAZING FLIGHT CAPABILITIES:  No other bird can fly like a hummingbird – forward, backward, hover, and even upside-Hummingbirds photo tipsdown. They do all of this so fast we can’t even see it—beating their wings between 70 and 200 times per second. This power, precision, and agility allows them to reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour while flying and 60 miles per hour while diving.

What would you like to know about hummingbirds?