Birds of Edmonds, WA. 2020

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Terry O

Well-Known Member
Great to see all the hummer action. The Rufous in most recent shots above look like females, for sure.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The rufous hummingbird continues to visit my neighbor's flower bed. I am getting its routine down so I know where to look for it. It has a favorite resting spot where I have taken many "bird book" posing shots. The trick now is to take "action" shots of it flying or doing something entertaining.

Shots from Friday (7-24-2020).

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
More shots.

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I set the shutter speed at 1000 and the aperture at f/16 to get a greater depth of field for flight shots. This resulted in some crazy auto ISO settings.

ISO = 5000
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ISO = 12800
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ISO = 12800
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The suet feeder hanging from my shed continues to draw birds. The chestnut-backed chickadee has to wait for the flock of bushtits to leave before there is room for it to feed.

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Adults continue to feed the fledglings.

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A Bewick's wren was checking out the ground suet feeder.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hummer Wars!
My neighbor's backyard has become a battlefield between two rival hummingbirds. Saturday afternoon (7-25-2020) I captured some of the action with my 7DII + 600L telephoto lens. One of the combatants looks like a female rufous while the other looks like a female Anna's. Settings of all photos were 1/1250 @ f/8, auto ISO.

Round 1
The Anna's launched a sneak attack from the rear.

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The rufous turned around and launched a counter attack at the last second.

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Standoff.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Round 1 Continued

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The rufous was not going to be caught off guard a second time and scanned the skies for its adversary.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Round 2
The rufous continued scanning the skies.

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The Anna's launched a second attack.

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The camera did not lock on to the birds, but I am posting the photos up anyway as I find them entertaining.

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I did not get photos, but a few minutes later the Anna's launched a high altitude attack on a swallow that was passing through the neighborhood.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Wednesday afternoon (7-29-2020) from the back deck before it got too warm.

The only hummingbird I saw was the Anna's. It landed on my feeder but took off when it saw me. It won't be so shy this winter when temps dip below freezing and my feeder is its only food source.

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An adult and a fledgling Bewick's wren occupied the hummer war zone.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
A male flicker was at the suet feeder earlier in the day. It is not same one I photogrpahed earlier in the week as it does not have the red chevron on the back of its neck.

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Later in the day it was pecking at the habitat stump. The round hole looks like a nesting cavity, but it seems late in the season for that.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The first afternoon of August (Saturday, 8-1-2020) from the back deck. The morning overcast was replaced by bright sunshine, which made photography difficult.

No sighting of the rufous hummer since the hummer war, but the Anna's is back. I don't know if she drove off the rufous or if the rufous decided it was time to head south for the winter. It has a long way to go before reaching Mexico and points south.

Both hummers periodically perch here, which lets me know they are at the flower bed. I believe this is a female Anna's due to the small red patch on her neck.

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The combination of distance (12-14 yards), lighting, and intervening foliage made it very difficult to track and photograph the small, fast hummer with my 7DII + 600L telephoto lens mounted on a sturdy tripod while the bird darted among the flowers. There were only a few photos worth saving of the hundreds I took.

I am not sure the advanced focus system of the 7DII is really an advantage over the 1DxII in this situation. With all of the intervening foliage, it is difficult for the focal points to lock on the bird when I have it set on a wide pattern. A narrow aperture setting to increase the depth of focus might help, but that leads to other problems like high ISO settings.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Red-breasted nuthatches visit my seed and suet feeders.

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They will often hide a seed in the thick bark of one of my Doug firs for later eating.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The suet feeder is popular with the nuthatches, chickadees, bushtits, juncos. and woodpeckers. Sometimes there is a waiting line to feed. Photographing the suet feeder can be difficult as it is in the shade for much of the day.

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Hummers fly south to Texas and then wait for the wind to shift South across the Gulf. Then Fly non stop to the Yucatan. They are amazing little birds. There also one of the fastest to cross, about 12 hours with a good tail wind. Pretty good for a bird that cannot walk,

R.J
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Here are the ranges of our local hummers from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. It looks as though the rufous hummers in the PNW most likely fly directly south to Baja without going as far east as the Gulf of Mexico.

Anna's, on the other hand, are year round residents.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hummers fly south to Texas and then wait for the wind to shift South across the Gulf. Then Fly non stop to the Yucatan. They are amazing little birds. There also one of the fastest to cross, about 12 hours with a good tail wind. Pretty good for a bird that cannot walk,

R.J
I have seen a TV show of a town in Texas near the Gulf of Mexico that has a festival every year when the hummers arrive to refuel before continuing on to Yucatan. The videos of hundreds (if not thousands) of hummers perched on feeders in town is amazing. The hummers lose a large percentage of their body weight while making the non-stop crossing of the Gulf.

Hummer physiology is quite amazing when you think of how much food they must consume to maintain the high energy levels necessary for their rapid wing beats. During the winter, the Anna's go into a torpor (semi-hibernation) every night to survive the cold.
 
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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I got up to feed my cat about 5:00 Monday morning (8-03-2020) and noticed the Anna's hummer at what has become her usual perch. I returned to the back deck about 6:00am and grabbed a few shots of the early birds with the 1DxxII + 100-400L telephoto zoom. It was still relatively dark and overcast, which made for slow focusing and high four and five digit auto ISO settings shooting 1/500 @ f/5.6. . The "noise" was not too bad as long as the shots were not close cropped and I was not expecting bird book quality photos.

The northern red-shafted flicker pair was out early.

Male

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Female

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Juncos on my neighbor's badminton net.

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House finch at my seed feeders.

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Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The spotted towhee fledgling was foraging beneath my seed feeders.

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One of its parents indicated the days of free handouts are over in rather dramatic fashion.

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Welcome to the real world.
 

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Anna's returned to her perch at my neighbor's flower bed.

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After these shots she flew over to my feeder and perched there briefly. I remained motionless, but she still took off without feeding. I suspect she may be drinking there when I am not present. She will lose her shyness this winter when my feeders are her only source of food.
 
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