Hand Feeding a Ruby Throat Hummingbird :: Photos

Photos of a Ruby Throat Hummingbird in Flight

Photos of a Ruby Throat Hummingbird in Flight

Did I mention we have some crazy, very aggressive eating Ruby Throat Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) here at the house? These little guys are not in the least bit shy, and will act more like a hungry dog if you let their food run dry.  These images were taken as Deborah was trying to put their food back on the window.  A family of about 10 Ruby Throat Hummingbirds live in our yard, I think there are probably 10 more or so that live in the close surrounding area, and when you go out to change their food, they dive bomb you.

This female Ruby Throat Hummingbird finally sat down for a meal, and stayed a while.  Usually she is fighting with the males for a seat, and this time, she decided to be bold and take a seat to eat with Deborah.  The males didn’t seems to interested in chasing her off, but not happy she was the only one eating. She sat, alone, on this feeder while Deborah held it in her hand for about five minutes without getting up (all while flock of other hummingbirds buzzed around her head trying to figure out how to also take a seat at the table).  I have found over time, birds will get to know you, and trust you.  I have also had small wild birds eat out of my hand like the common gray finch, but this was the first time with a hummingbird.

I did upload a few more images of this shoot in the nature > small small creatures gallery.  One in particular is a wider angle shot that shows my wife and her holding the feeder, not just her hand.  We have had hummingbirds at this house since we moved in and each year they come back to the same window letting us know they have arrived.  They seem to have a great memory (even from year to year) and will return to the same location, feeder or no feeder.

Do you have any crazy hummingbirds at your house?  The season is almost over for them here in Alabama and soon they will be off to their winter home in Mexico, Central and South America and the West Indies.  If you want to see them next Spring, just put out a feeder and they will find it.

3 responses to “Hand Feeding a Ruby Throat Hummingbird :: Photos”

  1. Very cool pictures of the hummingbird. I stumbled across one of their nests one day. They can make their tiny nests in the smallest of things. They are tough to photograph without a feeder. You can try and stake out a flower or two but that’s like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. What lens did you use on it. A 100 mm macro with fill-flash on High Sych enabled?


  2. @peter I was using my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR lens. Not the most suitable for the job being that big a lens and having to hand hold it, but it did the job. I actually did not use a flash on purpose because they are kind of skittish around someone just holding the feeder and the flash would have sent them flying off in another direction


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