Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Girls On Film

Last night, I enjoyed a nice bottle of Ballast Point Victory At Sea while watching the sunset in my back yard, and had my camera out.   The hummingbirds were loading up on sugar water - as they typically do just before sunset - and the airspace over my pool resembled the sky over 1939 London, except instead of Messerschmitts & Focke Wulfs battling Spitfires, Hawker Hurricanes & Typhoons, there were Rufous, Anna's, Black Chinned & Costa's hummingbird males diving, lunging, attempting to skewer each other with their bills, dodging, bobbing, spiraling, and weaving, and performing impressive aerobatics that even a vectored thrust Su-27 or JSF35 would find it difficult to execute.

I tried - in utter futility - to get pictures of the boys fighting, swooping, jousting, but the lighting levels were so low, and they moved so quickly, that it was all just a blur.  The only time I could get a picture, was when a hummingbird sat on one of the feeder perches and drank some nectar.

The females had it all figured out.  They'd alight on a "near fence" nectar feeder perch, and they would drink their fill of sugar water, while the vociferous & pugnacious males fought each other.  At one point, I captured two females sharing the same feeder - common for eastern Ruby Throated hummingbirds, but much more rare and harder to spot in California (for me at least, so far).

But then, something really amazing happened.  I watched as a female Rufous hummingbird sat on her perch, drank, and let me get within 3 feet of her.  My camera on 24X zoom, her tiny little form filling the screen, I snapped photo after photo.  She posed.  She appeared to love the attention, and was not afraid of the clumsy bipedal nearly hairless ape with one Big Black Eye so closely focused upon her.  Either that, or, she figured that with me standing So Close to the feeders, that the pugnacious males would leave her alone to have a drink in peace.  I noticed, as I took image after image of her, that battles RAGED Right Behind me.  The shrill battle cries, and buzzing wings were so close several times that I could feel the draft of the hummingbird's wings.  I heard the distinctive cries of the larger dominant Anna's and the chattery-nearly-non-stop-babble of the Rufous males Right Behind, and Right Next To me, while the little Rufous female posed, and drank, and posed, and decided I was not a threat.

After the sun went fully down, and it was too dark to take pictures even with a flash, I went inside to take a shower, having finished my 22 oz beer,  and kept singing "Girls On Film" to myself in the shower. (lyrics)

"with the bright green feathers iridescent rolling down her back..  down her back...."
"Girls on Film! Got your nectar! Girls on film!"
(drum fill)
"See you smiling, there you just made 8 million (megapixels)"
(guitar solo)
"na-no-coatings all over the lens, he's clicking"
"and she wonders how she ever got here as he takes her picture again..."
"Girls on Film! Got your nectar! Girls on film!"
"delicious juices pumping to this bird on a wire"
"take one last drink into the night, that camera's flash is cold & bright"
"(the ape he holds it) Holds it tight"
"Girls on Film! Got your nectar! Girls on film!"

A murderous quintet heading to South at dusk to roost, with their kin, in very tall trees near Saddle Back College


  1. Each one of these images was about 4 meg. If loading this page bogged down your device's browser, please let me know, and I will try to not upload So Many images in one post in the future.

  2. Very cool. I love the sound hummingbird wings make.
    Remember the 5 Ds of dodgebird: dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge.

  3. DodgeBird! LMFAO!!!! You KEEEEEEL me! =) DodgeBird! Hilarious!


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