Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds in Southern Nevada

© Mac Danzig

I was fortunate enough to live near an area of the Southwest this summer that many migrating Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds passed through.    During a two-week period, I was able to capture a few keepers that I’d like to share.

A few of these were handheld, but most were tripod mounted.  All were taken with the Canon 1Ds MkII and 300mm 2.8 IS lens.  Some were also taken with a 1.4 Extender attached.  As a normal practice for me, I chose not to use flash for any of these and only use natural light, waiting patiently for the right combination of bird position and sunlight.  (that’s fancy talk for “I suck at using a flash, so I usually don’t bother with it”)

Post-processing was minimal and included normal color and levels adjustments and occasional cropping.   Please click each photo for a larger view.

© Mac Danzig

I actually had quite a hard time identifying these as Broad-Tailed due to the fact that many birds in the Selasphorus genus look similar, including Calliope, Broad-Tailed and Roufus.   Add to that, the fact that these particular birds are all either female or juveniles, they are also easily mistaken for Black-Chinned Hummingbirds, due mostly to the many non-distinct features.

© Mac Danzig

The trees in which many hummingbirds prefer to rest in are thick with foliage, which makes it easy for them to hide from predators.  Since I don’t believe in pruning (especially if nests are present) it was extra difficult to obtain the proper angles for some of these shots since most of the time, the birds try to position themselves out-of-sight, with leaves and branches obstructing my view.  For the same reasons, good lighting also proved difficult to obtain at times…

© Mac Danzig

A particular pair of birds (a mother and juvenile) spent a good amount of time feeding and resting in a particular area and one afternoon I captured a great series of behavioral shots where the mother continually returned to her calling juvenile to feed it insects she had caught…   Here are some of those shots:

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

One aspect that proved frustrating was the lack of a rich background during many of these shots…  I often found many times that the birds were backlit, despite my best attempts at capturing the sun’s best angle.  One thing that helps a great deal is using in-camera Spot Metering.   This is why the vast majority of professionals who shoot hummingbirds often utilize multiple off-camera flashes…

© Mac Danzig

© Mac Danzig

Thanks for looking



4 Responses to “Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds in Southern Nevada”

  1. These are really beautiful — your patience and persistence really paid off! The shots of the interacting mother and youngster are really special, portraying a moment that many of us will never see for ourselves.

  2. Fantastic images, Mac. In addition to the stars of the show, I really like the soft and pleasing BG colors. Its a good reminder to look into the trees as well as at them…

    Cheers, Greg

  3. […] Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds in Southern Nevada « Mac Danzig Photography […]

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