Magnificent Hummingbird, Male, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Blame Ross for This

Blame Ross for This


Magnificent Hummingbird, Male, Blame Ross for This, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Magnificent Hummingbird, Male, Photo taken at the Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon, AZ


We can blame Ross for this.

First, I’m responsible for the photo (because I took it).

And Ross is responsible for everything else.

Here’s how.

He ran a small ad in a birding magazine, which I saw in April 2014.

In response to that ad, I visited the web site. Then I phoned to speak with Ross.

A week later Ross asked me to speak at the 2015 Sedona Hummingbird Festival on the topic: “How to Take Photos of Hummingbirds.”

I agreed. Now I needed a presentation plus more photos of hummingbirds. So I:

– Attended the 2014 Sedona Hummingbird Festival (and took more than 10,000 photos in hummingbird gardens).

– Spent three weeks in Arizona during April 2015 (where I took more than 20,000 photos).

– Prepared, tested, revised, tested, and revised my presentation (and took thousands more photos at home).

As a result, my presentation at the 2015 Sedona Hummingbird Festival delighted the audience with an educational celebration of hummingbird photography.

By the way, I owe you a bit more information.

Ross Hawkins is the remarkable man who founded the Hummingbird Society. He did this to: 1) Educate people about hummingbirds, and 2) Preserve endangered hummingbirds. I encourage you to learn more about this organization by clicking on the link below.

The Sedona Hummingbird Festival is a major event. A thousand people gather to attend presentations, go on hummingbird garden tours, shop in the expo, and mingle with wonderful people. Many combine attendance at the Festival with a vacation in Sedona (imagine beautiful red rock landscapes).


Magnificent Hummingbird, Male, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye

Magnificent Hummingbird, Male, Photo taken at the Chuparosa B&B, Madera Canyon, AZ


The Magnificent Hummingbird looks like this when it’s in focus.

Magnificent Hummingbirds are difficult to photograph. They generally live in Southwestern forests at elevations of 5,000 – 9,000 ft (1,500 – 2,700 m). If they visit a feeder, they stay only seconds, unless they’re in a hurry. Otherwise, they feed on wildflowers and small bugs.

Taking a useable photo of the full gorget on the male is also rare. That’s because the bright gorget and the dark bird appear at the extremes of dynamic range.


Final Thought

This reminds us that our small actions can cause huge changes in other people’s lives.

Because of one man, I gained priceless friendships, wonderful memories, and rare photos.

I can thank Ross for this.

Much success,

Steve Kaye


Help Birds Tip

If you set out hummingbird feeders:

1) Clean the feeders every 3 to 4 days.

2) Use a mix of one part Cane Sugar and four parts water. First boil the water and then add the Cane Sugar. (Important: Use only Cane Sugar and Water).

3) Do not use brown sugar. It contains iron, which is toxic to hummingbirds.

4) Do not use honey. It contains bacteria that is harmful to hummingbirds.

5) Never use dyes, preservatives, fragrances, flavors, vitamins, or artificial sweeteners. These are either toxic or unnecessary.


Birding Resources

The Hummingbird Society – Wonderful organization dedicated to the preservation of hummingbirds

Sedona Hummingbird Festival – Extraordinary event dedicated to hummingbirds

North American Hummingbirds, by George C. West – Outstanding book about hummingbirds

Steve Kaye’s Presentations – Learn more about my talks


Places to See Hummingbirds in Arizona

I’ve stayed at the following and recommend all of them.

Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast, Hereford, AZ

Casa de San Pedro, Hereford, AZ

Chuparosa Bed and Breakfast, Madera Canyon, AZ

Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon, AZ


Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

You can help – Please share this blog with others.

7 Comments
  • Kathryn Grace
    Posted at 15:34h, 27 April

    Ha, Steve! You had me going there, trying to figure out what that first pic was. I’m trying to imagine how many memory cards you need for camera to take tens of thousands of photos in just a few weeks. Boggling! Then, how in the world do you narrow down the good ones to a single slide show? From what you so modestly describe, I gather this last shot of the Magnificent hummingbird is a rare feat in itself. Congratulations and kudos!

    When I’ve been fortunate to have a garden, I’ve always grown plants that attract hummingbirds, but I’ve never set out feeders for them. I’m curious about that sugar water. It would have no other nutrients. I know the birds need plenty of calories to keep themselves aloft, but wouldn’t they also need the vitamins and minerals in plants?

  • Beth Kingsley Hawkins
    Posted at 15:51h, 27 April

    Love your post, and I must say, your hummingbrid photo is, well, Magnificent! (smiles) Heart, Beth

  • Penny Schafer
    Posted at 14:46h, 28 April

    Gotta love the hummers! Thanks again for the nice post and beautiful photos!

  • Thilda Zorn
    Posted at 19:02h, 28 April

    Fantastic, dear Steve! Well, I saw the smallest Hummingbird-Colibri around my porch, size of a bumblebee! adios, con carino, Thilda

  • Susan Bulger
    Posted at 23:22h, 28 April

    I hope you show and tell us about your hummer experience at the Southern California Bluebird Club meeting May 7th. You have really intrigued me.

  • Kristin Risley
    Posted at 23:35h, 24 May

    Hi Steve:
    I met you at the Sedona Hummingbird Festival last summer. I enjoyed your photos and talk at the Festival so much! I hope we will meet again at the Festival. Thanks for sharing this magnificent photo of the Magnificent hummingbird. It’s the BEST I’ve ever seen! And thanks for sharing your list of good places to see hummers in Arizona.

  • Rose Webster
    Posted at 16:10h, 03 June

    Incredible Steve and thank you for the hummingbird recipe!

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