Nose to Beak With A Fearless Bird

Posted By Mike Padgett

Nov. 6, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Taking out the trash this morning, I found visual treasure. I literally ran into it.

I was walking in our breezeway when I had a one-second warning. I heard the hummingbirds before I saw them. I stopped and looked up. They were chattering and feeding in the tall flower bush ahead, just to my left.

The tiny birds hovered for a second, then zoomed behind me, passing just over my head. A few seconds later, before I started walking forward, they returned.

And for the next 30 minutes, each apparently claiming the bush as its exclusive territory, I enjoyed their fascinating aerial behavior. They tolerated my presence and curiosity.

The tiny birds, like flying jewels, have iridescent green backs and grey undersides. Their eyes are shiny black beads. Copyright © photo by Mike Padgett

They sometimes hovered in front of each other, like a showdown in miniature. When one flew away, the other returned to feeding. I waited for the one to return, and I saw and heard it coming. It was a black streak returning in a blur. Its wings were loud as it zipped over my shoulder and circled around to the other side of the bush.

Then both took off, zooming back and forth in the breezeway on the northwest side of our home. I stood still, and they flew within inches of my ears. Twice, one hovered in front of me. I was nose to beak with a fearless tiny bird. Its beak is like a black needle. It seemed motionless as it stared at me.

A few times, the hummers zoomed at each other, like each was aggravated at the other’s presence.

Occasionally, they flew and vanished around the corner of the house. One returned, then the other. They fed for a few seconds. One flew off, then the other. Seconds later, they returned to feed on the flowers, darting from one to another. One bird landed on a cactus a few feet away, but only briefly.

Then one flew off and the other kept feeding. Always, I could hear the hummers approaching before I saw the little high-speed blurs on wings. They often appeared to be aiming for me, but they turned at the last second and maneuvered into the bush.

I stood still, turning only my head so I could watch them. Slowly, I backed away to get my camera. Surely, if I walked slowly, the little green birds would let me return.

They did. For another few minutes, moving slowly, two of my favorite desert creatures allowed me to capture their images.

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Nov 6th, 2011

One Comment to 'Nose to Beak With A Fearless Bird'

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  1. Carol Romley said,

    Hi Mike:
    What an outstanding photo. One of god’s beautiful creations, thanks for sharing this.

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