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

Blame Ross for This | April 2016

Blame Ross for This


Rivoli's Hummingbird, Male, in blog post: Blame Ross for This

Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Male, Photo taken at the Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon, AZ


We can blame Ross for this.

First, I’m responsible for the above 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, and revised my presentation.

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

And so let’s note that we can also blame Ross for the achievements, growth, and learning that resulted from his request.

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.

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.


Rivoli's Hummingbird, Male, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post: Blame Ross for This

Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Male, Photo taken at the Chuparosa B&B, Madera Canyon, AZ


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

Rivoli’s 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.


Final Thought

This reminds us that our small actions can cause large 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


Sad Update: July 9, 2020

We lost Ross Hawkins today.

Ross was one of the most incredible people I ever met. His drive and enthusiasm lifted everyone. It was an honor to have known him. I deeply admire and respect all that he did to make the world better.


Birding Resources

The Hummingbird Society – Organization dedicated to the preservation of hummingbirds

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


Places to See Hummingbirds in Arizona

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

Casa de San Pedro, Hereford, AZ

Chuparosa Bed and Breakfast, Madera Canyon, AZ

Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon, AZ


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9 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!

  • Ross Hawkins
    Posted at 09:37h, 03 July

    Kathryn, the sugar in nectar OR feeders has one purpose: to provide the quick energy needed to power their flight. Virtually all the other stuff they need in their diet comes from the bugs they eat. A mix of feeders and flowers is perfect, providing all-season, all-time-of-day supplies of their nutritional needs. Ross

  • Kate
    Posted at 10:38h, 03 August

    I’m posting my comment about Ross Hawkins, just under his comment of July 3rd, how fitting for our experiences with him. My husband discovered his office next to the Post Office in January 2019, while we spent the month vacationing. Wow, what a find, both Ross and Beth, who had a Hummingbird and Indigenous art store next to his office. Our love of hummingbirds and our enthusiasm intertwined and we attended the Hummingbird Festival in July of 2019. We were hooked!!!! We were back in Sedona in January of 2020 and spent quite a bit of time nurturing this nonprofit and offered to become the first supporters/promoters of the Society’s first “Match Fundraiser.” He was so excited and we spoke almost daily regarding the contributions that were flowing in. And on one of his final calls, he asked, “Could we send another $349 dollars to completely match all the donations?” Of course we responded, In the next few days, the calls petered out so we inquired?? “He had been sick with a fever, no COVID-19 and Beth was taking good care of him.” The calls stopped, finally we were able to get a hold of Beth who let us know that he had been airlifted to Phoenix hopefully for surgery, still with infection and now the discovery of an aortic aneurysm.” We counted the minutes and hours. Finally a text from Beth, she and his daughters were able to be with him those last few days. Our hearts are sad, but full of love for this man who was as enthused as a child on Christmas morning, for his love of hummingbirds and his careful moves to care for the species. He will be missed for sure!!! We know he feels the love. Our hope is that the Society finds another “Ross.”
    Kate and Randy Safford

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