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Hummingbird feeding in Baja California 29th October 2010

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  • Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • (c) Harry Kikstra,
  • 0.000 s (1/8000) (1/8000)
  • f/2.5
  • aperture priority (semi-auto)
  • 800
  • 2009:05:02 06:12:45
  • matrix
  • 135.00 (135/1)
  • Auto Exposure
Hummingbird feeding in Baja California

The story behind "Hummingbird feeding in Baja California"

When staying at a friend’s house in Southern Baja California, at the Sea of Cortez, I noticed several small birds racing from one artificial feeder to flowers and then to other feeders. I guess it helps them survive in the desert conditions, but the nervous flight patterns make it very hard to take a photo.

Due to their incredible wing speed I used 1/8000 of  a second shutterspeed  in order to freeze the fragile, back-lit wings… (see the ‘Exif” button above for all technical info of any photo on

So this one is out of respect for all the bird-photographers who bring us those amazing shots!

(From WikiPedia)

” They are among the smallest of birds, and include the smallest extant bird species, the Bee Hummingbirds. They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–90 times per second (depending on the species).
They can also fly backwards, and are the only group of birds able to do so.[1] Their English name derives from the characteristic hum made by their rapid wing beats. They can fly at speeds exceeding 15 m/s (54 km/h, 34 mi/h).”

“With the exception of insects, hummingbirds while in flight have the highest metabolism of all animals, a necessity in order to support the rapid beating of their wings. Their heart rate can reach as high as 1,260 beats per minute, a rate once measured in a Blue-throated Hummingbird.[10] They also consume more than their own weight in nectar each day, and to do so they must visit hundreds of flowers daily. Hummingbirds are continuously hours away from starving to death, and are able to store just enough energy to survive overnight.[11]

Hummingbirds are capable of slowing down their metabolism at night, or any other time food is not readily available. They enter a hibernation-like state known as torpor. During torpor, the heart rate and rate of breathing are both slowed dramatically (the heart rate to roughly 50–180 beats per minute), reducing the need for food.”

It is always great to be suprised by the fast hum of these little birds :)

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