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:
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.”
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).”
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.”
We’re glad her persistence has paid off!
[h/t The Dodo]