Animals

Woman Photographs Gorgeous Hummingbirds In Her Yard

It's difficult to capture these speedy little buggers on camera.

Hummingbirds move fast. While their maximum forward flight speed is 30 miles per hour, they can reach up to 60 miles per hour in a dive. That would be over the speed limit on a lot of roads!

Unsurprisingly, it’s difficult to capture these speedy little buggers on camera. Yet one California woman has managed to capture some beautiful shots of the birds in her own backyard.

Tracy Johnson’s stunning photos of the hummingbirds are posted on her Instagram account, hummingbirdsxoxo.

Her bio sets the record straight that none of the photos is fake: “The birds are REAL. If I could do animation I would animate tiny dragons landing on me instead of birds. All content by me (and the birds).”

Check out this awesome snap of a hummingbird captured mid-flight, displaying its many-colored feathers:

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OHMYGOODNESS!!! I'm so excited to report that this photograph I took of Squeaky McGee (a female Rufous Hummingbird) was chosen as one of the "Top 100 Photos" in the the 2017 Audubon Photography Awards. I didn't win the contest, but it's a HUGE honor to be listed in the Top 100 photos. According to the Audubon Society website: There were more than 5500 photos entered in the contest. "Photographers from 49 States and eight Canadian provinces submitted images…" Click on the Link in my bio to see my photo on the Audubon site! I'm the 100th photo in the collection. (More fun zeroes!) ☺️😂😍🙆🏻 Thank you to the Audubon Society for choosing me as one of the Top 100. 😘❤️ @audubonsociety

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Johnson has learned a lot about hummingbirds since she started documenting them.

“Each bird is different from the next. You can tell the difference between them if you focus and pay attention,” she told The Dodo, adding that around 20 hummingbirds regularly visit her home. “I’ve gotten to know them very well. They all have personalities.”

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There's a family of wild cottontail bunnies living in our backyard beneath the solar panels. During the daytime they all come down the mountainside (which is about 10 feet wide 😉, but it's mountainside when you're only six inches tall!) and the mom (Daisy) stashes each of the three baby bunnies in three separate places: Lola spends her days in the pink bushes near the stone steps. Lucas spends his days in the purple bushes beside the swimming pool and Lex spends his days in the container that holds the coiled up garden hose. Every other day I bring out a couple of baby carrots and break them apart and divide them up between the babies. It's gotten so that Lola is comfortable enough with me that, if she's out on the lawn eating grass, she comes hopping towards me when I walk over to where she lives. I always call out "Carrots, Lola! Carrots!". The other two are much more shy and won't come out until I walk away. It was only this morning that I discovered that Lola thinks her name is "Carrots". I did an experiment and called out just her name when I stopped by with her Carrot pieces. I called out "Lola! Hi Lola!" She didn't hop out of the bushes: so I called again "Lola! It's me! Hi Lola!" Again. Nothing. So finally I called out "Carrots!" And who came hippity hopping out but Little Miss Carrots herself? 🙄🐰😬❤️ if you want to see pictures of Lola and her mom, Daisy, you can head over to my other Instagram @tracylovesthestarsxoxo But I should warn you: I post a lot of pictures of my cat, Red. In other news: You know those days when you have spiderweb on your head and nobody bothers to tell you? Those days are sooooo annoying….

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Johnson notes that the hummingbirds sometimes display behavior similar to human interactions. She captioned the video below of three birds drinking with an analogy to two men vying for the same girl in a bar:

“I guess, in hummingbird land, one way to get rid of the competition when you’re sitting at a bar with a girl you like is to make the other guy super uncomfortable by drinking from his drink. Watch how the Annas male on the left (Raphael) leans over and asserts his dominance by drinking from the feeder port in front of the male on the right (Romeo). (The bird in the middle is a female that Raphael seems to be trying to impress).”

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I guess, in hummingbird land, one way to get rid of the competition when you're sitting at a bar with a girl you like is to make the other guy super uncomfortable by drinking from his drink. Watch how the Annas male on the left (Raphael) leans over and asserts his dominance by drinking from the feeder port in front of the male on the right (Romeo). (The bird in the middle is a female that Raphael seems to be trying to impress). Romeo did end up filing a formal complaint with the manager (me). Watch how Romeo turns and faces the camera… then flies a bit and turns and faces the camera again. The tail feathers at the top of the screen are because he flew up to me to have a chat. Presumably about the lack of respect shown to him by the other patrons. I comped his sugar water and sent him on his way with tickets for free bug kabobs on his next visit. Meanwhile… In predictable fashion: the bad boy bird got the girl. 🙄☺️ Slo Mo #iphone6s video. Feeders from www.hum-fi.com filled with 1 part white table sugar mixed with 4 parts water.

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Johnson tells The Dodo that being in the right place at the right time to photograph her birds requires patience and skill. To perfect her art, she’s put in a lot of practice. She notes that sometimes she’d wait for 30 minutes for a bird to arrive, only to have them leave for another 30 minutes after she takes a quick snap. Other times — like in the video below — Johnson weathers a literal storm to spend a few moments with the birds.

“It’s been stormy in Livermore for the past week,” she wrote in the caption. “This sort of weather makes me happy. I love standing in the rain. There is something about the freshness of raindrops on my face that makes life feel sharper and more in focus.”

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It’s been stormy in Livermore for the past week. This sort of weather makes me happy. I love standing in the rain. There is something about the freshness of raindrops on my face that makes life feel sharper and more in focus. I could go into an explanation about negative ions and how they have a healthy effect on our bodies and minds. And they do. But I believe it comes down to the fact that the world goes completely silent in the rain. All of the miscellaneous sounds that usually exist, all of the frenetic noises in the world, take second place to the sound of the raindrops hitting the world. The bees don’t buzz around and the birds don’t chirp in a downpour. There is just the sound of the raindrops falling. It’s very peaceful. Lola (my wild cottontail friend) and I stood together in the rain yesterday. Just two friends enjoying the silence together. In moments like those I like to think that we are having deep philosophical discussions inside of our heads with each other. Sharing the Zen of the moment. But in reality: she was probably thinking “Why is Tracy staring at me like that? It’s kind of creepy when she does that. Is she going to eat me? She’s never tried to eat me before but maybe she is really hungry today. Stop staring at me. Is she still looking? Don’t look! I’m going to Look: She’s still staring. What is she doing out here standing in the rain when she has that nice warren with a rooftop and walls?” Last night when I was settling in to go to sleep: I put Lola and the raindrops into the heart shaped thought bubble that is made up of all of the people and animals I love. The heart shaped thought bubble that exists right before I close my eyes and drift off to sleep. Each night I count my blessings before I fall asleep. We are programmed to be comfortable. We seek warmth and shelter and forget that there can beauty in the briskness of the weather. Peace in the love of a good friend. When I was a little girl and it was raining, My grandma Pat would tell me me “You’re not made out of sugar: go outside and play” So, the next time it rains:Get outside and feel the raindrops on your face. After all, You’re not made out of sugar, are you?

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We’re glad her persistence has paid off!

[h/t The Dodo]