I had a chance encounter with a gorgeous Anna's Hummingbird today. This quicksilver beauty materialized in front of me out of nowhere, hovered for a fraction of a second, then was gone again in a flash. These birds seem to operate in a different, hyper-speed reality than the one we live in.
Here's a story about the image. For some reason, I had my camera set on single shot, not my usual 8 frames per second. During the half second the bird was in front of me, I lifted my camera, pressed the shutter once, and captured a single frame. This image was the result. The fact that I was able to capture it was pure luck... or perhaps a gift.
Here's some information about the Anna's from Wikipedia:
Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna), a medium-sized hummingbird native to the west coast of North America, was named after Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli. In the early 20th century, Anna's hummingbirds bred only in northern Baja California and southern California. The transplanting of exotic ornamental plants in residential areas throughout the Pacific coast and inland deserts provided expanded nectar and nesting sites, allowing the species to expand its breeding range.
Anna's hummingbird is 3.9 to 4.3 in long. It has an iridescent bronze-green back, a pale grey chest and belly, and green flanks. Its bill is long, straight, and slender. The adult male has an iridescent crimson-red derived from magenta to a reddish-pink crown and gorget, which can look dull brown or gray without direct sunlight and a dark, slightly forked tail. Females also have iridescent red gorgets, though they are usually smaller and less brilliant than the males'. Anna's is the only North American hummingbird species with a red crown. Females and juvenile males have a dull green crown, a grey throat with or without some red iridescence, a grey chest and belly, and a dark, rounded tail with white tips on the outer feathers.
These birds feed on nectar from flowers using a long extendable tongue. They also consume small insects and other arthropods caught in flight or gleaned from vegetation. A PBS documentary shows how Anna's hummingbirds eat flying insects. They aim for the flying insect, then open their beaks to capture the prey.
While collecting nectar, they also assist in plant pollination. This species sometimes consumes tree sap. The male's call is scratchy and metallic, and it perches above head-level in trees and shrubs. They are frequently seen in backyards and parks, and commonly found at feeders and flowering plants.