Hummer Portrait – Anna’s Hummingbird

Male Anna'a Hummingbird

Male Anna’a Hummingbird © 2014 Bo Mackison

“There is something inside the soul of all of us that wants to soar through sunbeams, then dance midair in a delicate mist, then take a simple bath on a leaf. There is something in our souls that wants to hover at beautiful moments in our lives, making them freeze in time. There is something in us that wants to fly backwards and savor once more the beautiful past. Some of us are just hummingbird people.” ~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

What a beauty, the Anna’s Hummingbird. One of the more common hummingbirds in Arizona, but always a visitor worth stopping for to enjoy  his spirited movements. If nothing else, the hummingbird reminds me to pause and appreciate the beauty surrounding me — and not just the wondrous hummingbird which is easy to appreciate, but all of the mysteries in the natural world.

Male Anna'a Hummingbird

Flashing his Colors © 2014 Bo Mackison

The male hummingbird turned towards the sun in the western sky, and I saw a magnificent display of his colors, a flash in the sunlight. At a slightly different angle the iridescent pinks fade into deeper colors. This flash of color is often a part of the hummingbird’s mating ritual – the male dives, dances, and flashes his glimmering colors towards a female, signaling his intentions. The female may accept or simply fly off.

This little guy reminds me of a miniature, pink feathered Darth Vader!

Male Anna'a Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird in Color © 2014 Bo Mackison

“Hummingbird shows us how to re-visit the past for the purpose of releasing it instead of being caught in a permanently backward flight pattern. It also helps us to see that if we step aside we may see our life differently. Hummingbird teaches us to transcend time, to recognize that what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future is not nearly as important as what we are experiencing now. It teaches us to hover in the moment, to appreciate its sweetness.” ~ Constance Barrett Sohodski

Male Anna'a Hummingbird

Anna’a Hummingbird © 2014 Bo Mackison

Recently I’ve been seeing hummingbirds wherever I go. They seem to be hovering nearby, not only at the backyard bird feeders, but also in the grocery store parking lot or deep in the Sonoran Desert when I am hiking.

I am never too busy to stop and admire their beauty, and be reminded of their independence and determination.


Backyard Birds

Hooded Oriole, male

Male Hooded Oriole © 2012 Bo Mackison

I put two hummingbird feeders at the edge of the arroyo and attracted hummingbirds and a few other birds interested in a quick sweet treat. This male Hooded Oriole breeds in the Southwestern states and eastern Mexico. It migrates through Mexico to its winter home in southern Mexico.

It’s named for the orange hood on the male. It once nested in the desert trees in the riparian oases, but is now just as commonly seen in backyards.

Broad billed Hummingbird, male

Broad-billed Hummingbird © 2012 Bo Mackison

Ah, here’s one of the 5 or 6 types of hummingbirds I saw this spring. This is the Broad-billed Hummingbird — its bill is red, turning black at the tip. The Broad-billed Hummingbird’s northern territory is in southern Arizona. It is only here for a visit. Most Broad-bills live year round in Mexico.

Anna's Hummingbird female, spread wings

Female Anna's Hummingbird © 2012 Bo Mackison

This medium-sized hummingbird, still tiny compared to other birds, is never still. I thought I was lucky to catch this female in mid-landing. The male is a handsome fellow, with an iridescent bright pink throat, but he was even speedier than the female.


Acrobatic Gila Woodpecker

And this guy, the Gila Woodpecker, is my most frequent visitor, though I’d prefer he not slurp up all the sugar-water I make for the hummingbirds. I did a search and found that woodpeckers are “tolerated” guests at hummingbird feeders from the east coast to the west. Actually, they make such an effort to get footing on the tiny rim meant for hummingbirds, that they are among the more entertaining birds. Noisy, too!


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC, living and photographing in southern Arizona for a few more days before she migrates to her summer home in the Midwest.