Saturday, June 22, 2019

Hand Feeding a Hummingbird

I went to the California Backyard Birds in Encinitas to buy bird food and noticed the tiny single hummingbird feeder. It is made so that you can hand feed the hummingbirds. I laughed at Mark the owner and said "this can't really work" ! He said, yes, it really does, and that there is a photo of a lady feeding a hummingbird out of the palm of her hand and she got the hummer to do so in one day!  Well that is all I needed to hear, I grabbed one of the tiny single feeders and included it in my items for purchase. Mark the owner of the store also told me that the best way to get a successful outcome is to hang the feeder up near the main hummer feeder and get the hummers used to it. They will come and feed from it as they get familiar with the new tiny feeder. Doing this first step will make it easier to get the hummers to feed from your hand.

Bringing the single feeder home, I immediately found the perfect place to hang it. I spot a young Anna's Hummingbird perched nearby.

He is looking towards the main feeder making sure no one else is feeding from it. He guards it most of the day.

I hung the single feeder about 7 feet north of the main feeder. Soon it was visited by the youngster.

To make the sugar water mix, use one cup of water to 1/4 cup of white cane sugar and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for good 2 minutes to make sure that you kill the mold in the sugar. The Anna's Hummingbird has a problem with getting a nasty growth from the mold and fungus in the sugar that deforms the beak qhich can be a slow death sentence for these beautiful hummers. Keeping the feeder clean and boiling the sugar water correctly to kill the mold will help keep your hummers healthy.

Next, I tried the hand feeding and it worked. Now I had to get some photos of this wonderful experience to show you what it was like. First I removed the main feeder, then I got my boyfriend to stand by the door of my dining room with camera ready to shoot. I placed the single feeder in the palm of my left hand and stood very quiet about 3 1/2 feet from where the main feeder was and waited. It took a while but he finally flew over.

He noticed the camera by the back door and appeared a little cautious.

Looking at it...


This is so amazing. What a wonderful invention. I am staying very still just enjoying every second of this little guy's visit.

It's amazing that a tiny little item like this could bring such joy.




One last sip.

He pauses just for a second and I give him a slight nod to say good-bye for now as he is gone in a flash. What a wonderful experience this little item has given me. I highly recommend to anyone that loves hummingbirds and has feeders in the yard to give hand feeding a hummingbird a try!
Have a fun week everyone!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Peregrine Falcon Fledglings on a Foggy Day (2019)

Yesterday was sunny and clear. Today, the day that I planned to go to Torrey Pines State Park to see the Peregrine Falcons, turned out to be another June gloom day. Excited to hear from Dee Dee that the fledglings were flying up around the top of the bluff, I decided to ignore the fog and go check out the Peregrine fledglings. There was a good chance the sun would burn off the marine layer. I guess all the other photographers decided not to waste their time trying to shoot photos of Peregrines in the fog. The usual crowded path overlooking the ocean was empty of photographers except for two at the south end lookout. I was optimistic that the fog would lift soon and I could get some shots of the spectacular aerial display of the fledglings in mock battle. Maybe even a food exchange. I didn't have to wait long for the Peregrine Falcons fledglings to make their appearance. It turned into a wonderful foggy day with the Peregrine falcon fledglings.


My first shots were of the three fledglings mock fighting in the morning fog. I could only get two of them in the frame at a time but the action was exciting!

Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, measures 16 inches long with a wingspan of 41 inches. They can dive at speeds over 200 MPH! Trying to get a shot of these wonderful falcons as they streak by is a fun challenge. One second they are just getting into your frame and next they are flying only a few feet away from your lens. LOL, many times, all I get is a "brown blob" as I look through the shots I took of these speeding falcons.


The air space around the bluffs became quiet. I saw a few photographers at the south end lookout. Arriving to check out what they were taking shots of, I was pleasantly surprised to find two of the fledglings resting on a sandy ledge.

One gets up to stretch.


Wow, in a flash, the third fledgling lands .

She is very vocal. Kek, kek, kek!
Her two nestmates watch as she balances her landing. It appears that she has a lot to say!

I call the third fledgling a female because she looked slightly larger then the other two. I have heard from other photographers that there were two males and one female.

The third fledgling appears to be talking to the one that is lying down.

A sweet moment as she approaches her nestmates.
All three appear to be quite close and get along well. It's nice to see these moments of affection between the siblings. A sweet moment.

One of the fledglings gets ready to fly.

There he goes.

Beautiful take-off. You can see that the fog is still over the ocean.

Now all three take to the air. The two photographers that were here decide to go north about 250 ft from this view point to see if they can get some flight shots. I decide to stay hoping they will return this way. It wasn't long before they appeared and the air was filled with three fantastic Peregrines!

This is one of the most exciting sights to see. A fledgling comes bullet fast as I aim my camera and start focusing. One may come so close it is full frame.

Lots of vocals. Kek, kek, kek!!

Coming in for a landing. Kek, kek, kek! Wow, I feel so very lucky to be here at the right place to get this capture!

Beautiful sight. Vocalizing the whole time!

Nicely done.

I spot another fledgling in flight who appears to be focused on something.

Look at his legs, they are down and talons ready for a grab. LOL, it's a beetle!

Going for the grab. But the bug is so small and it's a miss. This however makes a great practice target to hone his flying and hunting skills.

The prey gets away but good fun and practice for this youngster to have a real live target.

Beautiful maneuvers. Changing quickly back to flight mode.

And there he goes.

Breathtaking to watch these beautiful falcons.

Finally I get a quick shot of all three in flight. All heading straight towards me.

One is coming in for a quick rest and I am thankful I am at the right spot today!

Nice look at the youngster.

Look at those talons.

Nice side view.

Another sibling arrives and wants to land on the exact spot!

The one on the log leaves but I keep my focus on the incoming arrival.


Puts on the brakes to land. Look at those beautiful wings.

She makes a beautiful approach slightly hovering to make a soft landing.

Ready to land and with full concentration.

And... grab!

Well done, little one.

Folding up those beautiful wings. This is why I love taking shots of youngsters. Their moves are slightly slower than an adult because they are just learning the basics of flight and landings. Also they appear not to be as wary of humans as the adults are.

I spot another approaching. A shot of the leading edge.

A nice fly by.

This guy lands on another branch nearby.

Another one is spotted in the air.

Glides by.

Now you see how close they fly by.

This one circles above.

Appears to want to get a good look into my lens.

Coming in to the full frame area!


It is absolutely breathtaking when you get to see one looking back at you through your camera lens.

The sun finally breaks through and I get to see more details of this beautiful bird, the Peregrine Falcon.

Amazing. It doesn't matter how many times you see these beautiful birds it will still give you chills when they fly by so close.

More calling. Kek, Kek, Kek!!!  Notice how quickly I lost the sun. It's overcast again.

Looking for their parents and hoping for a meal, I think they must be hungry. I have not seen an adult so they are ready for a meal.

LOL, Kek, Kek Keeeeek!!

One last shot and I have to leave for today. Hope to make it back one more time before they leave the area. I think we have about another week or so before they will be gone exploring and starting their new life as young Peregrine Falcons.  I hope many of you get to see them before they leave.
Have a wonderful week everyone!