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Posted: 4/23/2016 5:14:25 PM EDT
So I happen to have a friend that is one of the extremely few people licensed to band hummingbirds in the US. She invited me to come for a visit on her banding expedition, with no guarantees as to what we would or would not see, but that I'd have a good time. I'm in!

Once I got there and got my camera stuff set up, I started shooting pictures of the birds and critters I saw.

First thing I saw was this:

DSC_1257-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

Also, numerous tree rats made an appearance:

DSC_1261-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

These guys were there:

DSC_1267-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

More tree rat:

DSC_1269-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

I also saw another eastern bluebird or two:

DSC_1270-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

About the time I was taking the above picture, the first hummingbird came into the trap. This is the hummingbird bander (or whatever the hell you call em) holding the bird:

DSC_1275-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1276-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

Here's where it gets a bit more cool. My mom went along...and she got to hold it!

DSC_1277-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

The blue stuff is a mark they place to know that they've already caught this bird (so they don't trap it again)

DSC_1278-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1279-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1280-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

Have YOU ever pet a hummingbird? Probably not!

DSC_1281-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

While waiting for more hummingbirds, I went on about shooting the other things that were around

DSC_1298-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1316-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1327-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1345-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1355-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

Another bird came. This one, I got to hold! Also pictured - an assistant hummingbird bander, and in the background, the boss bander lady (my friend) Unfortunately, the guy that took this picture potato'd the fuck out of it. I did the best I could to fix it.

DSCN0527-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

My mom also took a pic over my shoulder of me holding it. Slightly less potato'd:

IMG_20160423_134640_4_ by Zack, on Flickr

Once that one had all its science done on it, we let it go and I went back to shooting whatever happened to come around while we were waiting for more hummingbirds:

DSC_1368-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1370-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1381-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1393-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1400-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

DSC_1406-Edit by Zack, on Flickr

Unfortunately, no more hummingbirds entered the trap zone during the time they had to band. But, it was still a lot of fun to go...and taking pictures is ALWAYS fun!
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:20:37 PM EDT
Awesome! Looks like a very cool experience.
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:31:14 PM EDT
How do they trap them?

I've held a hummingbird before after it crashed into the side of a house. Put it in a box for a bit so it could recover. It doesn't feel like you are holding anything. Awesome little birds. Great pictures.
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:33:48 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By kronus92:
How do they trap them?

I've held a hummingbird before after it crashed into the side of a house. Put it in a box for a bit so it could recover. It doesn't feel like you are holding anything. Awesome little birds. Great pictures.
View Quote


Methods vary but these were caught in a pretty simple way. Feeder in a cage with a door that could be shut remotely. Watch bird enter, if it's one they already caught he's allowed to come and go unbothered. If it's a new one, the trap is sprung and they reach in and gently catch it.
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:37:29 PM EDT
that is very cool.  hummingbirds are awesome. nice pics of the other critters too.
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:40:40 PM EDT
Can you tell a little bit about how you choose the lens to use for this, and any special camera settings you use, and how you decide those?
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:44:59 PM EDT
I've wanted to write a book with characters based on how I've personified birds.  I love me some bluejay. Very intelligent. They are crows after all.

Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:51:16 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/23/2016 5:51:32 PM EDT by Zack3g]
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Originally Posted By Leisure_Shoot:
Can you tell a little bit about how you choose the lens to use for this, and any special camera settings you use, and how you decide those?
View Quote


The lens part is easy, for most wildlife stuff you want the longest lens you can afford. The widest aperture you can afford too.

This particular setup was rather challenging because I was shooting into the sun most of the time, so there were a lot of harsh shadows and everything was backlit. The dynamic range from light part to shadow part was outside the range my camera could capture too. You wouldn't know it from looking at the pics though, thank you flash.

That said, I still had to run the ISO up pretty high to get acceptable shutter speeds (generally 1/500 or faster for these) but a few were intentionally done with a slower shutter speed, like the flying bluebird.

The earlier pics in the series maxed out at around 6400 ISO whereas towards the middle and end they were hovering in the 1600-3200ISO neighborhood. A few that were in exceptionally well lit areas were more in the ISO 400-800 range.
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:52:40 PM EDT
Great stuff Zack3g. Hummers are so small. I've held them also and the bands are about the size of the nose of Lincolns on a penny. Many thanks
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 5:58:37 PM EDT
I was fixing to ask about a flash.
The eyes being "illuminated" I guess you'd call it, are really cool.
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 6:13:12 PM EDT
Wow.  Great shots Zach
Link Posted: 4/23/2016 6:44:43 PM EDT
Absolutely awesome pics!!!

Blue jays are downright beautiful (but I hate hearing them!).

The evil of the tree rat is evident in his red-rimmed eyes.

Hummingbirds are soooooooooooo cool.

Link Posted: 4/23/2016 8:00:48 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By pasquale91:
I was fixing to ask about a flash.
The eyes being "illuminated" I guess you'd call it, are really cool.
View Quote


It's a side effect of the flash. I got lucky that in most cases it was an enhancement and not a distraction.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 4:22:30 AM EDT
I figured more people would be interested in this one. Kinda surprised by the low views. Oh well.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 4:27:45 AM EDT
You are now officially a Disney princess.  Congrats!
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 4:36:31 AM EDT
Fantastic pictures, as always!
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 4:39:08 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By NuclearCookies:
You are now officially a Disney princess.  Congrats!
View Quote



My reaction to this depends entirely upon which of them you associate me with.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 4:44:04 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2016 4:46:21 AM EDT by EladEflow]
Great pics, thanks for sharing. As a husband of a photographer the sharpness, contrast, and possibly HDR was a bit jarring, I assume these were processed pretty heavily?
 
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 5:00:08 AM EDT
Dude, great pics.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 5:08:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/24/2016 5:09:33 AM EDT by Zack3g]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By EladEflow:
Great pics, thanks for sharing. As a husband of a photographer the sharpness, contrast, and possibly HDR was a bit jarring, I assume these were processed pretty heavily?  
View Quote


None of them are HDR in the usual sense of multiple exposures. I do tend to capture more dynamic range than you might be used to in photos because I expose to the right and pull back the highlights a bit as well as pushing up the shadows some. I try to get close as I can to what your eyes can actually see. And maybe just give you a little detail that was originally hidden from view.  Cameras aren't that good.

Your eyes aren't fooled by 20 stops of dynamic range. Your camera will be lucky to be able to handle 14 or so. On a good day.

The little details are what's important to me and if they are lost to the viewer what's the point.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 5:08:22 AM EDT
Auto or manual focus? Hand held?


Gear porn.  Come on.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 5:14:17 AM EDT
This thread really is for the birds. Also, I like birds. +1
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 7:53:21 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Zack3g:


Have YOU ever pet a hummingbird? Probably not!

< ]
View Quote

I rescued one a couple years ago-it got trapped in one of the skylights at work and couldn't figure out how to get out. Caught it, took it outside. I was scared to hold it tight enough to keep it in my hand...I've caught bugs that had more substantial bodies.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 8:00:33 AM EDT
Are these being banded to track migration or for some other purpose?

Thank you for sharing and awesome photography.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 8:14:39 AM EDT
Great pictures!!!
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 8:40:43 AM EDT
Nice pics.

Cool sequence.

That seems like a nice way to spend an afternoon. Thanks for posting.

Cheers!
-JC
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 8:46:13 AM EDT
Really neat. I've always wanted to get into photography like that

Thanks for sharing
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 8:48:23 AM EDT
Dumb question; Why are the birds just sitting in your hand so calmly?

I would imagine they would fly away as soon as they had the chance (being wild animals and not tamed)
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 9:33:47 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By ArmedPete:
Are these being banded to track migration or for some other purpose?

Thank you for sharing and awesome photography.
View Quote



Tracking migration is part of it. They also study how long they live and how often they return to an area. I was told of a hummingbird that returned to the same house every year for 9 years. That's crazy.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:16:25 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Recusance:
Dumb question; Why are the birds just sitting in your hand so calmly?

I would imagine they would fly away as soon as they had the chance (being wild animals and not tamed)
View Quote


They don't stay there very long. It reminds me of tonic immobility in sharks. They go into a relaxed state for some reason when they are being actively handled and then wake up after a bit and fly away. The one I was holding wanted to sleep in my hand though. I had to give him a shake to get him to fly away.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:19:27 AM EDT
Outstanding photos, as always , and Lawdy am I jelly about holding a hummingbird - those little creatures are just magic.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:34:28 AM EDT
That is so cool, I love humming birds.  As always, great pictures.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:40:53 AM EDT
Why is you face all dirty or is that an attempt at growing facial hair???  
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:46:01 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Furyataurus:
Why is you face all dirty or is that an attempt at growing facial hair???  
View Quote


Neither. Respirator friendly. Sucks but it is what it is.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:49:24 AM EDT
Very nice, but...

Have you ever petted a Grizzly bear?

Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:50:07 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By wtfboombrb:
Very nice, but...

Have you ever petted a Grizzly bear?

View Quote


I have not, but I would not turn down the opportunity.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 10:56:10 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Zack3g:


I have not, but I would not turn down the opportunity.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Zack3g:
Originally Posted By wtfboombrb:
Very nice, but...

Have you ever petted a Grizzly bear?



I have not, but I would not turn down the opportunity.


There are people who would, believe it or not.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 11:50:16 AM EDT
cool pics as always...thanks for posting.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 6:55:18 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By wtfboombrb:


There are people who would, believe it or not.
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Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By wtfboombrb:
Originally Posted By Zack3g:
Originally Posted By wtfboombrb:
Very nice, but...

Have you ever petted a Grizzly bear?



I have not, but I would not turn down the opportunity.


There are people who would, believe it or not.


That's just crazy talk.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 7:01:58 PM EDT
Awesome photos. What is the purpose of capturing them? I saw you said they mark ones previously caught but no mention of tracking, etc.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 7:28:47 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By SuperMoose:
Awesome photos. What is the purpose of capturing them? I saw you said they mark ones previously caught but no mention of tracking, etc.
View Quote


They track movements and also longevity and overall health.

The marks on the heads are used so that they don't continually harass the same birds over a few banding sessions. They usually do this every weekend and sometimes the birds stick around so there's no sense trapping and handling them over and over if it's not required for some reason.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 8:31:04 PM EDT
actually, I have held a hummingbird.

he got disoriented one evening in my garage and wouldn't fly out, just zooming around.
I know they will fly to exhaustion, so I let him calm down and land.
I put my finger next to him , and after he looked at me for a minute he stepped onto my finger. I took him outside and set him next to a hummingbird feeder.
he was gone in the morning,

they're territorial little bastards. three or four will chase each other around our feeders, then go to a neighbor's and fight some more.
Link Posted: 4/24/2016 9:25:20 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Zack3g:


They don't stay there very long. It reminds me of tonic immobility in sharks. They go into a relaxed state for some reason when they are being actively handled and then wake up after a bit and fly away. The one I was holding wanted to sleep in my hand though. I had to give him a shake to get him to fly away.
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Originally Posted By Zack3g:
Originally Posted By Recusance:
Dumb question; Why are the birds just sitting in your hand so calmly?

I would imagine they would fly away as soon as they had the chance (being wild animals and not tamed)


They don't stay there very long. It reminds me of tonic immobility in sharks. They go into a relaxed state for some reason when they are being actively handled and then wake up after a bit and fly away. The one I was holding wanted to sleep in my hand though. I had to give him a shake to get him to fly away.

Amazing! I figured they would make a getaway as soon as possible since they seem so hyper-active.
I've enjoyed your photo threads before, BTW. Thanks.
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