18 August 2006

The ruby in the garden


I've been seeing hummingbirds around the trumpet vines in our backyard almost every afternoon between about 5 and 6 pm. Finally this afternoon I managed to photograph them.


This is the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), the only hummingbird of the eastern U.S. Obviously, this individual doesn't have a ruby throat; it is either a female or a juvenile.

The photographs were taken from about 10 m away with a 150 mm telephoto lens. The first photograph above was taken at a shutter speed of 1/500, while the 2 shots below were taken at 1/800 s. With the faster shutter speed the wings are better defined, but even a faster shutter speed is necessary to completely freeze the wings. I will try that next time.


A DC Birding Blog has more info on these birds.


clare said...

You're so lucky to have these in your garden, and beuatifully captured too. Looking at them it strikes me how the feathers on the back of this bird look like scales. How strange that feathers betray the ghost of a reptilean past like this. I wonder if there is a reason.

John said...

Great photos!


There is indeed a hypothesis that feathers are modified reptilian scales.