Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)

Hummingbirds are a challenge to photograph.

So, I recently learned that there are four kinds of hummingbirds in New Jersey, but three are rare. I've only spotted the Ruby-throated ones. The bird in these photographs is either a juvenile or female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

I'm a big fan of tiny birds, especially hummingbirds. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times a second. Their speedy movements are fascinating to watch. I've wanted to take pictures of them for ages, and since they like red or orange flowers, over the years, I planted some Eastern Columbine in my balcony garden planter to attract them.

Now and then, I've spotted Ruby-throated Hummingbirds near the flowers, but Eastern Columbine only blossoms in Late Spring to Early Summer, which is a bit of a bummer. I decided to get a hummingbird feeder for the balcony, and that's when I started seeing the Ruby-throated ones more. Taking their picture through the glass door was a pain, though – too reflective. Then there's our cat, Alphonso Mango (we call him Alphie). He loves sunbathing on the balcony, and I was worried he might be a threat to the birds.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird · Friday 18 August 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

So, I moved the feeder to the backyard, hanging it under some woody vines near the edge fence. It took a week or two, but the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eventually found it. I figured out when they usually visited the feeder in the mornings and late afternoons, and I'd sit and wait for them. Shooting in the late afternoon light was tricky, and I had to use ISO 12,800 on my Fuji X-T3. The photos had a lot of digital noise, but I made them look better thanks to Adobe Lightroom's Denoise feature.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird · Friday 18 August 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

I'm still chasing that perfect shot of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in flight, but these pictures are the best I can do now.

This weeks LAPC reminds me thats it almost a year since my first visit to The Edge.

Author: Khürt Williams

I work in application security architecture and I live in Montgomery Township, New Jersey with my wife Bhavna. Passionate about photography, you’ll find me writing about cybersecurity, tropical aquariums, terrariums, hiking, craft breweries, and capturing birds on camera. My prose is like a caffeinated squirrel—fast, unpredictable, and occasionally insightful.

6 thoughts on “Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)”

  1. I love reading posts & viewing pics from fellow hummingbird lovers such as myself. I'm curious to know the other 3 hummingbirds in New Jersey??? I live in upstate NY, Ogdensburg. It's basically in Canada ??. I've only known the Red Ruby throated ones. They are an amazing lil' jeweled angel of the sky. For such a tiny creature to be able to accomplish the extraordinary feats that they do. Such as cross the ocean nonstop for approximately 25hrs & to find (home) in the spring!! I certainly couldn't!! I'd be flying all over or in circles!! Lol. Anyhow, I'm rambling,which I tend to do when talking about these lil' winged angels. Thanks for sharing your pics!!

    1. In New Jersey, bird enthusiasts can spot a variety of hummingbirds, although the ruby-throated hummingbird is the most common and most likely species seen during the summer months. Some people have reported seeing the following but I’ve never seen them myself.

      • Rufous Hummingbird
      • Black-chinned Hummingbird
      • Calliope Hummingbird
      • Allen's Hummingbird
  2. Nice shots Khurt. It is funny how they are creatures of habit. I find the ones to visit my yard are like clockwork. Nice that you encourage them and share photos with us. They are hard to capture in my opinion.

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