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Hummingbird in Flight by Isquiesque Hummingbird in Flight by Isquiesque
As a new deviantART member, I'm going back through photographs I've taken in the past and pulling the ones with which I'm the most pleased, because I look at dA as a place where I can bring all of those single best (for me) images together. This is one such image, a bit old, but still a favorite. I must apologize for the smaller size of the photograph - this was taken with an older digital, either a 1.3 or 2.0 megapixel, and it was unfortunately not set at full quality settings that day.

I captured this Rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus, in mid flight near Yakutat, Alaska during 2003. Here's a journal entry I made around that same time:
Encounter With a Hummingbird

This evening, as I do every evening, I fed my humming birds. They are impatient little creatures, and like so many other nights before they buzzed by quite closely, waiting for the feeder to be ready. I was at the front of the house, on a ladder, third rung, balancing carefully, filling one of the feeders. Less than six inches from my head hung a second feeder, and it still contained food from earlier in the day. Suddenly, one of the birds zoomed in and perched on the feeder, less than a foot from my face, looked me right in the eye, then ignored me and began to feed.

I was rather shocked, so I just stood there, balancing on the rung, another feeder still in hand. I took in the intricate details of the bird's plumage: the spots on its neck, the sleek iridescent green of its back and the fluffy white down of its belly. I saw how its tiny feet grasped the perch. I watched its chest rise and fall with each quick heartbeat, watched its beak open and close ever so slightly with each drink, then, when it lifted its head for a breath, I watched as its tiny tongue licked the water from the end of its beak.

So close to me. It was amazing. I was transfixed.

A second bird came in, and then a third, all hovering so near that I closed my eyes for fear they'd bump into them and I'd be too startled to keep my place on the ladder. Then, a fight broke out among the three of them, each wanting all six perches for themself. Just as quickly as they'd arrived, all three were gone. Alone again, I took the opportunity to hang the feeder I'd been holding so awkwardly. Then, out of curiosity, I placed my hand against the frame of the nearby window for support and waited.

Within thirty seconds they were back. More of them this time. Eventually, I had seven birds within two feet of my eyes, the pulsing of their wings so close that I could feel the breeze on my cheek. As they came closer, I closed my eyes and they swarmed about me, ruffling my hair in their wake, but never touching me. When the buzzing faded, I cautiously opened my eyes again, which fortunately didn't seem to startle them: three were perched mere inches from my nose, and they all turned to look into my eyes. I smiled softly and watched these tiny wild creatures, marveled at their form, and thought of how they fly all the way to Mexico for the winter.

It was like a dream.
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Magenta-Fantasies Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2012  Professional General Artist
It might be really dark, but it's so pretty. I love hummingbirds!

By the way, I never would've guessed there were hummingbirds in Alaska. I thought it was too cold.
m-orion Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2006
Hard to catch.. :clap:
Isquiesque Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2006  Hobbyist Photographer
They can be, yes. Truth be told, this was cropped from a much larger photo taken at a bird feeder, a chance shot that captured lots of hummingbirds but this one was just captured more beautifully than the rest. Unfortunately, that means that this is about as large as this image will ever be, and it's really not printable.
m-orion Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2006
I'm impressed anyway :)
About 50-80 wing beats per second- it's not easy to shot.
Dudinja Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2005
perfect!! i love it! [ fav+ ] ;)
Isquiesque Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you for the compiment and the favorite.
kidscruff Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2005
i would have put alaska as possibly one of the last countries on my list of where i thought hummingbirds lived...just goes to show i am daft as fuck. i'm impressed with the shutter speed with this photo, i doubt my digi would pick this up (probably cuz id be stood there fiddling with it while the hummingbird flies away)
how fast do their hearts beat? and how long do they live?
Isquiesque Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
Your brother was similarly shocked when he showed up in Yakutat and the little buggers were swarming the house (I used to have as many as twenty in the yard at a time, kept three feeders and had to fill all of them 2-3 times a day because hummingbirds will eat 1.5 to 3 times their body weight a day). At any rate, I did a bit of research on your questions, and the answers are unfortunately vague, but their hearts beat in excess of 1200 bpm, and can live around ten years. And the other fun fact is that they beat their wings anywhere from 22 to 72 times each second.

They can get pretty tame, too. If you're interested, I've edited this deviation to include a journal entry from that summer where I was able to watch them fly and perch within inches of my face. Very surreal.
kidscruff Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2005
thanks for helping me with that...i knew the figures would baffles me, but i didnt realise to what extent...imagine eating 3times your body weight.......mmmmm.......
72 times a second waaaaaaa thats a lot of hard work though...what a price to pay for eating handsomely...
i read the journal entry, and what an experience. can you tame em? i want a hummingbird circus......
hope all is well with you, loving the stuff you have submitted so far....i'l feature you in my journal when i've finished featuring the competition winners.
b1ackflames Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2005
wow! amazing capture! i can't imagine how difficult that would be. nice work :D
Isquiesque Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2005  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you!

(I must admit that he'd just taken off from the feeder at my window, but yes, this was one of dozens and dozens of shots.)
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Submitted on
November 22, 2005
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