Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

March 30, 2009

Pollen Beak

Filed under: Birds, Boyce Thompson Arboretum, curiosities, favorite places, technique — richditch @ 6:58 pm
Costa's Hummingbird with pollen

Costa's Hummingbird with pollen

I know that a lot of photographers will only bother with subjects in peak condition, being especially fond of males in breeding plumage. I try not to be so selective (elitist?) and look at all the birds around, and doing my best to show any bird to best advantage regardless or sex, molt, feather wear, or other condition of real life. So my files have a number of birds in questionable states verging at times on curiosities.

This male Costa’s Hummingbird was hard to ignore on March 28 in the Demonstration Garden at Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, AZ. This is definitely not the way this bird’s bill looks. It appears to have quite an accumulation of pollen built up, forming a crust along most of the upper surface. I don’t know what caused this – perhaps the hummingbird picked up some sticky substance from a sapsucker well or a cactus before visiting the pollen source. It didn’t prohibit the bird from feeding on the nearby penstemins and other flowers, and he didn’t make a fuss trying to scrape it off on a twig or branch as I see other hummers do after feeding. Maybe he just likes the extra color?

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), SB-800 flash set to high speed sync and -2 stops fill, ISO 400, 1/800th at f/5.6. About 50% of the full frame image.


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