Crouching Tiger, Hidden Hummingbird

August 6, 2014 at 7:08 am (Bird photography, Colorado birds, Dinosaur National Monument, National Parks, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Southwest Birds) (, )

Rufous Hummingbirds - a mating pair, or dueling males?

Rufous Hummingbirds – a mating pair, or dueling males?

When I heard what sounded like a hummingbird singing, I went to the back porch with my camera and found two rufous hummingbirds locked in an aerial battle.  Although some of these photographs aren’t sharp, it shows the Ninja-like dance before they dropped to the ground, still locked together.


At first I thought it was a mating pair, even though their nesting season should be over, and they don’t nest in Colorado.  Furthermore, they are supposed to be migrating south, not in the breeding mode.


So perhaps they were adult and juvenile males fighting for dominance.  After consulting the Peterson’s “Hummingbirds of North America” I still can’t tell.  The tail feathers appear like a male’s, but the throat is more like a female’s.  Maybe one of my blog readers will know?  The time of year supports the idea of two males.


As for the singing I thought I heard, the book says rufous hummers don’t sing.  I dunno.  Perhaps it was another bird I heard, but whoever it was caught my attention, and I was able to witness this interesting little pas de deux.


After they separated, the adult male kept searching for his amour/foe.  Then he took his perch on the clothesline to resume defending his little feeder from all comers.  Soon they will all continue their journey south to Mexico to spend the winter, and perhaps then the resident black-chinned and broad-tailed hummers will be able to feed in peace.



Text and photographs copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share


Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

These photographs available here.

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  1. Alli Farkas said,

    Great shots, lack of sharpness doesn’t bother me. I know how difficult it is to get shots like these! My feeder is on a high covered deck with a bright background behind it. Makes it almost impossible to get hummers looking like anything but mutant blackbirds. Could use flash, I guess.

  2. Pam said,

    What great hummingbird shots! Hard enough to get them at all, much less doing something interesting.

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