deadlines and arrivals

April 14, 2024  •  5 Comments

In the United States, 15 April is traditionally the deadline for submitting one's income tax forms/payments to the government.  Oddly enough, it also has become the near-official arrival date of hummingbirds in northern New Mexico.  And while living in Taos County, we began looking for these amazing creatures at the beginning of April, hanging a feeder even as temperatures dipped well below freezing, in which case, we would bring the feeder into the garage.  The first type of hummingbird to arrive was the broad-tailed hummer.  We knew because the male "scouts" arrive first, their wings making what is described as a metallic or cricket-like trill.  It is unlike anything else in nature, and when you hear it, you will know. However, considering the thousands of photographs I took while living there, I have none of the broad-tailed hummingbird with its fuchsia-colored throat.  

The black-chinned hummingbird is the next to arrive in the northern part of the state.  Even if they have to remain in stasis during a spring snow storm, as were the ones shown below.  They were just starting to awaken.  I took advantage of the situation to shoot some images.

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In flight, as all hummingbirds are, they are mind-boggling machines.  According to, New Mexico has broad-tailed and black-chinned currently in residence short of an Anna's and two rufous sightings near Las Cruces.  They winter in the Seattle area, so it is no surprise they are not residents in New Mexico.  From Houston to Chicago and Florida to New York, the entire map is covered with Anna's hummingbird sightings.  No photographs of those either but the black-chinned keep us company.    

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The great majority of photographs I shot over 20 summers were rufous.  They usually arrived in July, creating chaos at the four one-quart bird feeders we hung every year.  It made the aerial circus that much more interesting.  

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There is a reason they are called rufous which means reddish-brown in color, but sometimes the males are day-glow orange, as is the dude below.

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Looking at the map in Hummingbird Central, it appears there are hummers almost everywhere in the United States right now, so I hope you see or hear one speeding by in your neighborhood soon.  Many in the world have never seen one, and when they do for the first time, the fascination is endless.  May it be that way for you upon seeing the first one of the season!

Thanks for Louise, Tim, Jean & Sam, Carol M., Lawrence, Barbara F. R., Victoria, Steve, and Tomas for commenting on last week's blog.  

until next Monday,


a passion for the image@



Wow! Great photos of an elusive subject!
Steve Immel(non-registered)
Your hummingbird photographs are among my favorites. The birds are implausibly tiny yet giant in energy and personality. They are precious and captivating. They touch our hearts. I continue to be amazed that you can stop them in flight with everything tack sharp but the wings. And the burred wings tell us just how fast they're flapping, a natural miracle.

I particularly like the bottom three where the bright eyes make them even more lovable.
Lovely photos - thank you!
Always am astounded at your charmingly intimate photogs of these miraculous creatures. 20 pounds bags of sugar are ready and waiting at Smiths.
10 min. ago I saw our first Hummer arrive. So beautiful, so fast. Thanks for the exquisite photos.
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