21 Stunning Hummingbird Photos You Need to See
Step into the world of hummingbirds with these amazing reader photos.
It’s a magical moment when a hummingbird zips through your backyard or stops at your sugar-water feeder for a snack. From a ruby-throated hummingbird enjoying a refreshing rain shower to a male Anna’s hummingbird territorially puffing himself up, we’ve gathered together some of our favorite, jaw-dropping hummingbird photos from Birds & Blooms readers. You can submit your own hummingbird photo to us using our submission form. Enjoy!
Leucistic Anna’s Hummingbird
A leucistic Anna’s hummingbird visited the Australian Garden at the UCSC Arboretum, a public garden about 60 miles from my home. I love hummingbirds, so I had to drive there to see this rare bird for myself. I’d heard that seeing it was hit or miss, but I got extremely lucky. The bird streaked across the sky like a white bullet, then hovered over the blossoms in front of me. Wow! As my heart raced, I took as many photos as I could until it sped off as fast as it had flown in! I’ve been back to look for it many times since that day. Sometimes I’ve seen it and sometimes I haven’t, but each time I do, I’m still in awe at the sight—and grateful that it graced me with its presence.
Sally Rae Kimmel Lafayette, California
This male calliope was the first arrival of the year, stopping by our backyard in mid-April. During the colder spring weather, he would perch on this stick close to the feeder. The blurry pink background is thanks to our crabapple tree, which was in full bloom across the yard.
Bill Bolster Medical Lake, Washington
While I was watering the flowers, I noticed the hummingbirds were sitting on the wet leaves and splashing around. I loved watching them so much, I set the hose up to keep spraying the leaves. Then I went to get the camera to start taking pictures. This was a young ruby-throated hummingbird bathing on the gerbera daisy leaves.
Mary Ann Bowyer Vesuvius, Virginia
My wife decided she wanted to have hummingbirds in our backyard, so she went to a local bird store and bought this feeder. I thought there was no way it was going to work, but within a week, there was a hummingbird! Photographing these fast little creatures was a challenge. In the beginning, my shots were really bad, but I’d try a different technique each time, and ended up getting this shot. Practice really does make perfect.
Robert Shepler Sylvania, Ohio
The sun was peeking over the tree line, and I stood with a cup of coffee watching God’s creation unfold. The bloom on the orchid cactus my sister gave me was opening, so I wanted a picture of it to send to her. Right then, a hummingbird flitted over to check out the flower. With the sun shining perfectly on the bloom, I captured this wonderful moment.
Patrick Henderson Matthews, North Carolina
I thought it was strange that this hummingbird kept circling this flower but never landed. Then I noticed the praying mantis hiding beneath the bloom. I quickly (and safely) moved the mantis to another location so the hummingbird could land on the flower without fear.
Michele Carter Newport, North Carolina
There was a lot of congestion at the feeders one summer evening, but this female ruby-throated hummingbird waited on a black-eyed Susan until all the drama at the “water cooler” was over before taking her turn. I’ve seen hummingbirds in trees and on feeder perches and posts, but this was the first time I’d witnessed one using a black-eyed Susan as a resting place.
Jon Montgomery Du Quoin, Illinois
Did You Know? Black-eyed Susans attract many kinds of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, slugs, snails, and aphids.
One rainy Saturday morning,my husband and I noticed a ruby-throated hummingbird relishing the rain. These birds are usually in motion, so it was a peaceful sight to see this hummingbird perched contentedly, neck stretched with its head to the sky, truly enjoying the moment. I snapped this photo through our kitchen window. I love the idea that this little bird was stopping to enjoy the cool rain!
Mary Meyer Eyota, Minnesota
Did You Know? In downpours, hummingbirds will shake their heads and bodies to dry off, similar to the way dogs do.
Ever vigilant, this female rufous guarded the feeder in my yard, attacking other rufous and black-chinned hummingbirds with unbridled alacrity, then returning to this perch as lookout. What makes this photo special is her protruding tongue, which shows a flash of the beautiful bird’s personality.
Allen Livingston Huntington, Utah
Did You Know? Hummingbirds have split tongues that work like a pump to efficiently suck up nectar.
I made this hummingbird swing and placed it between two sugar-water feeders. The hummingbirds wouldn’t go near it until I took the feeders down. Eventually, I put the feeders back up, and one young hummingbird liked the swing so much, he declared himself the boss and used his perfect vantage point to chase
off all the other hungry hummers.
Idella Pearl Edwards Marion, Illinois
Male Costa’s Hummingbird
This male Costa’s hummingbird is actually guarding “his” feeder. Any time another Costa’s, black-chinned or Anna’s would land on the feeder, he would dash out from his hiding place in this pomegranate bush, scare away his competition and return to the exact same branch every time. His stubbornness made it easy for me to set up my camera, aim and get several good pictures.
Carla Ritter Ivins, Utah
Last spring, I set up feeders in the hopes of finally attaining my dream of having a hummingbird-friendly backyard. Within a few days, I had my first visitors, but my next challenge was to photograph them. I spent hours patiently waiting to get the perfect shot. The day I took this photo, the sun was filtering through the trees in the neighbor’s backyard, creating a stunning backdrop. A lone male calliope took his position at the feeder, and with a few quick clicks of my camera, he was gone. But I got my shot!
Tiffany Hansen Spokane, Washington
Did You Know? The calliope hummingbird, at only 3-1/4 inches, is North America’s tiniest bird.
Male Anna’s Hummingbird
Male hummingbirds sure are territorial! One day, two of them were fighting for the same space in my backyard. I was watching the scene unfold when I saw this male Anna’s hummingbird all puffed out. I was so fortunate that I could capture the moment with my camera.
Lynne McClure Vancouver, Washington
Growing up in the city, I never really saw a hummingbird up close. Once I moved to the suburbs, I started planting flowers in my backyard. The hummingbirds absolutely love the bee balm, and it’s exciting to see them come back every year. Now I’m adding even more plants to attract as many hummingbirds as I can!
Carmen Rugel Middletown, Rhode Island
Male Anna’s Hummingbird
This lovely male Anna’s hummingbird was perched in a pomegranate tree in
my neighbor’s backyard. He was fiercely guarding the feeder that hung nearby. When any other birds approached, he chased them away, then flew back to his perch. Hummingbirds are so small, yet so aggressive when protecting their territory. I admired this little guy’s persistence in guarding his spot. The look in his eye shows a lot of strength for such
a small bird. He has the eye of the tiger!
Robin Hardin Los Alamos, California
Male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
This male ruby-throated hummingbird was extremely friendly last summer. We took this photo in our flower garden last year. It was late in the evening, which is when this guy would sit a lot and luckily, we were able to get pretty close to him for this photo. After he left, a younger, much more aggressive, male hummer came along. We sure enjoyed our up-close interactions with him while they lasted.
Dennis McNeill Clio, Michigan
Did You Know? Male hummingbirds often find a perch to guard their territory.
Hummingbirds are difficult to photograph because they move so quickly. But I managed to get this rufous looking right at me while I captured the movement of its wings.
Maralee Park Bend, Oregon
Bonus! Hummingbird FAQs
Gladiolas are one of my all-time favorite summer blooms, and while I was taking photos of the ones in my garden, I noticed I had company. A juvenile ruby-throated hummingbird was also interested in the blooms! I shouldn’t have been too surprised because hummingbirds like the color red, but it really brought a smile to my face.
Patty Jennings Stacyville, Maine
These ruby-throats come back to my front yard every year, and I love to sit and watch them. Occasionally, things really get out of hand when 15 or so try to feed at the same time.
Clatis Tew Butler, Alabama
Bonus! Hummingbird Sugar-Water 101
Southern California is drought-stricken, and water-wise plants, like this aloe plant (below), are encouraged. Luckily, hummingbirds are frequent visitors to the aloe blooms alongside my driveway. The perfect combination of wildlife and drought-tolerant plants makes an amazing photo op!
Koji Kanemoto Long Beach, California
Did You Know? Hummingbirds have excellent memories and remember which flowers they’ve already sipped from.
I took this photo in a Utah park. There were several feeders and more than 20 hummingbirds zipping around. These birds tend to be elusive, flying away before you can get a good look at them. Having so many in one spot allowed for this interesting shot with another bird out of focus in the background. These birds are like magic, and each time I look at the photographs I’ve taken of them, I remember hearing the unique sound of their wings and bodies cutting through the air.
Helene Bushnell Lowell, Massachusetts