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Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson has a wonderful little hummingbird aviary. I remember visiting it years ago when I visited Tucson for a medical conference. This was well before I started feeding them and trying to attract them to my home. Perhaps this visit was one of the things that started me on my hummingbird loving journey.

I decided to go back and take my new camera (Nikon D500) and try to photograph a few of the birds. I can take pictures of Anna’s and Allen’s and Black-Chinned hummers on my deck, but I am not visited by the tiny Costa’s and Broad-Billed ones that frequent the feeders in Arizona. It was my hope that there would be a few of these in the aviary, and I was not disappointed.

Upon walking into the aviary you can hear the little chirps of the hummingbirds, and before long you start to notice them flitting from place to place. If you spend any time in the aviary more than a cursory walk-through, you begin to notice that each little bird has its territory and feeding source that it’s trying to protect.

The first bird I noticed was a little female Broad-Billed hummingbird. I was so excited, as this is the first female Broad-Billed that I have ever seen. There was a vagrant one that was visiting the feeders of Marilyn Meadows Bernstein out in Calabasas, CA (which I have written about in the past), but it was a juvenile male that was still growing in his adult feathers.

This little girl liked to stay low to the ground on a twig. She would fly up to a feeder in the vicinity, then to a branch higher up in the aviary, and then back down low to the ground in an area that looked like she was in camouflage.

After walking around the corner I found that the male had a similar pattern. He was on a twig low to the ground not far from the female, and he had the same pattern of flying to feed and then back in hiding on his twig. I had to use a flash to be able to see the brilliance of his coloring.

I photographed this little guy for a while, so I was able to catch a few pictures of him preening and lifting his foot to scratch. With the action stopped, it looks like he’s dancing!

The picture below is one of a sweet little female Costa’s Hummingbird. There were two pairs of Costa’s in the aviary. This guy loved to perch on a feeder hanger. He would sit there and then feed both from the feeder and from nearby flowers. Trying to get a good shot of him feeding from the flowers is a story for another day. But here is a shot of the most adorable master of the feeder – male Costa’s hummingbird.

Until the next adventure…….

Happy hummingbird watching!

Carole Studio City, California

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