How can I get more photos of hummingbirds, especially in a region that has far fewer hummingbirds?
I have focused intently on understanding what motivates these little birds. There's lots of information about facts on hummingbirds and it can be quite interesting, but when you understand their behavior, you can predict much closer what they'll do next. This is where I have invested so much of my time, in thoroughly understanding how these birds think. Their actions and behaviors are formed by circumstances. Those circumstances can be food, security or mating related. They don't just aimlessly fly about without purpose. If we choose the best foods for hummingbirds we can actually affect the security and mating circumstances as well.
Knowing what drives these birds allows you to select the perfect locations and times for taking great photos. Flowers are not only food, they are survival to hummingbirds, especially where feeders do not exist.
Selecting the right flowers will attract young birds in training. Although I would never give up on my perennials, annuals are a necessity for long-lasting blooms and colors around my garden. Many of you already know that Zinnias are one of my "go to" annuals for attracting young birds, and I always try to stick to taller flowers. In the case that they like other lower growing annuals, raise them up in hanging baskets, or planters raised off the ground. Then watch for a pattern. As a bird moves throughout your garden, they will taste and determine preferences. Watch the second time and see which ones get a second visit. Those should be added to your list. After a few visits, you will recognize which flowers get the majority of attention. Those are the must have's, and they will be the sources for taking your photos. Once they have narrowed down their top picks, they will form a pattern and times of their return. They can be quite precise in these patterns, but can vary depending on the season. Once they leave the nest, food is all that matters, and the frequency of visits is much greater than mating and nesting times.
Juvenile Ruby-throat, N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta. 2015
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