Nature photography from a woman in the woods

Look at that Tongue . . .

A flash of harmless lightning,
A mist of rainbow dyes,
The burnished sunbeams brightening
From flower to flower he flies. ~ John Banister Tabb


Hummingbirds are known for their speedy wings (80 times a second) and acrobatic flying talents (up, down, forward, backward and even upside down.) According to, hummingbirds hover by flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern and their feet are only used for perching .. no hopping or walking for these speedy little birds.

However, I bet you did not know that their tongues are just as fast. Hummingbirds have a long tongue which they use to lick their food at a rate of up to 13 licks per second. I never realized how long that tongue was until I took these snaps the other day and noticed it by accident. There are numerous more amazing facts about these very special birds here at The World of Hummingbirds.

I stopped putting out a hummingbird feeder a few years ago (because of the hassles with raccoons, bees and ants) however, I am feeding them this year. I always plant flowers they like around the house so that I can enjoy them, but the feeder makes watching much more fun … I have missed their antics.

Now, I have to work on getting a great flying shot of these little birds. They are in battle mode these days .. guarding the feeder and chasing each other away more than drinking the nectar. They do not tend to cooperate with me and my camera as they dart in every direction extremely fast. I am working on it, though … ๐Ÿ˜‰

Please comment on any hummingbird picture-taking tips you have or funny stories about your attempts to take hummingbird pictures.


8 responses

  1. Love the pics. What timing to get the picture with the tongue hanging out!! I also am attempting to get some flying hummingbird pics. I have a few, but they are not quite sharp enough. I’ll keep trying!

    August 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

    • I would like to say that getting a picture of the tongue was “skill” … but, it was simple luck. I never even knew their tongues were that long. If you figure out how to get a great flying shot, let me know … so far I have figured out the biggest skill is probably going to be patience … and lots of it. (good thing we are not using film any more ;-))

      August 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm

  2. Isn’t that the truth. I’ve only just started photographing birds. EVERYTHING about taking bird shots is patience. I have a rep for being a patient person. This is teaching me that I have so much to learn in that regard! I really enjoy your blog, btw. After seeing the hummingbird post, I spent some time checking it out. Great pics and commentary. Thanks for sharing your Minnesota woods with us.

    August 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    • You are welcome … I am glad that you found me and took the time to look around and comment. Thanks

      August 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm

  3. THey are tough to photograph, but it’s sure fun to try!

    August 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    • Fun .. definitely a challenge .. but, my patience is wearing down …
      I am afraid the hummingbirds are going to leave before I get a shot. It has been really cool here, Fall weather for about a month (70’s daytime, 40’s at night) .. I love it, but may send the birds south very early this year. I have not heard a loon for about a week and all my time outside by hummingbird central, I have not seen a male hummingbird … they fly south first, right?

      August 8, 2013 at 10:00 am

  4. Great captures. I didn’t put up a feeder here this year, but have seen plenty of hummingbirds flitting about. I’m afraid I have no tips as all of my photographs this year have been accidental (wondering what the blob was up in the tree and finding out it’s a hummingbird when I look at it on the big screen). I’m planning to put up a feeder next year. I love watching them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    August 30, 2013 at 10:47 am

    • The bees (mean yellow jackets) have found my feeder in the past week or so. They chase the hummingbirds. When the feeder is empty I don’t think I will refill it .. having the bees by my front door has been a pain and I hate watching them chase my hummers away.

      August 30, 2013 at 8:06 pm

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