Anna’s Hummingbird

Female Anna’s Hummingbird Feasting on Wooly Blue Curl Flowers native to California

Around our neighborhood, the hummingbirds have been extremely active lately, calling out to one another from dawn to dusk. The male Anna’s hummingbird–the most common hummingbird in the Pacific Coast–is fiercely territorial, ready to attack any intruder into his territory. At times two males locked in bitter battle will dive down close to the ground and shoot back up in the sky, seemingly oblivious to everything else as they compete for the best perches.

During a courtship display, a male Anna’s hummingbird will climb 130 feet and then plummets nearly to the ground, making much noise to attract females’ attention. When the sun is shining, they orient their iridescent magenta throats in the direction of the sun to display their beautiful colors.

Although hummingbirds are incredibly fast (their wings beat up to 80 times per second for some species), they like to take frequent breaks, often on the same couple of branches. They are frequently creatures of habit, visiting the same bunches of flowers in the same order over and over again throughout the day. Anticipating where the hummingbird will go next can make it a bit easier to photograph them in flight, though their fast speed still poses quite a challenge. With a lot of patience, and a high shutter speed, it’s possible to capture the hummingbirds as they feast on calorie-rich nectar.

Author: Olivia De Lancie

Project Manager, Trip Planner

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