Hummingbird Heaven in Arizona
Two years ago, I was visiting the hummingbird aviary at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson when I heard from other photographers about Madera Canyon, Arizona. This is a major migration stop-over area for migrating hummers. The next day I drove to the Canyon, but I was only able to stay for a few hours. Yes, indeed, there were many hummingbirds, so I made it a point to return in the future. In April 2012 I returned and this time we had reservations at the Santa Rita Lodge.
These broad-billed hummingbird images were taken right outside the lodge, where many birders and birds converge.
We heard from the birders that Sierra Vista (southeastern corner of Arizona near the Mexican border) area was also a hotspot for hummingbirds especially the Magnificent and the Lucifer hummers.
We traveled on to the famous Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast Inn (another birder mecca) in Sierra Vista, where we were rewarded with exciting sightings of the Rufous, Black-chinned, Magnificent and the elusive Lucifer hummingbirds. Mary Jo, the proprietor was a gracious host and she does a fabulous job of attracting a wide variety of beautiful birds to her property.
The Lucifer seemed to be the most sought after by birders and photographers. Birders travel from all over the US to this location to see the Lucifer hummingbird.
Hummingbirds can fly forward, backward, up, down, left, right and upside down or just hover. They dart about very quickly. A good time to photograph them is when they are hovering at a feeder or flower. They hover for only a second (or less), so anticipation is a factor for success.
These images were photographed with my Canon 500mm lens from 15 feet away (the nearest distance for this lens and still achieve focus) and Canon 1D Mark 4 body.