January 23, 2007

Hummingbird on a Heliconia

Hummingbird on Heliconia latispatha,

We see so many hummingbirds this time of year but catching them with the camera is difficult. El Jefe was able to take this photo a few weeks ago with the old camera. I love the colors of this iridescent jewel-colored one in the photo.

One once buzzed around my head and even though the camera was in my hand, I couldn't get it turned on fast enough. They often hover around the Etlingera Elatior right outside my estudio (studio) window for a minute or more, but when I open the screen to get a shot, they fly away.

Etlingera elatior, (Bastón de la Reina) a favorite of hummingbirds

This year I've seen two unusual types
that I haven't seen before around the Etlingera. Both had curved beaks. One had a short curved beak and was as small as my thumb. The other had a very long arched beak and was quite a bit larger. They were both more brownish.

I won't hazard a guess to try to identify the one in the top picture. A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America lists 65 hummingbirds, many of which are residents of this area. Some hummingbirds hang their tiny cone-shaped nests under the tips of Heliconia or banana leaves.

Other hummingbirds migrate north for the summer. It's amazing to think that these tiny birds fly hundreds or thousands of miles each year. The hummingbird that you see in your backyard may have been feasting on my Heliconia during the winter!

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