Check out these gorgeous, tiny-beaked, prosh hummers:

Bird (photography!) watcher Sharon D. sent in this fabulous set, shown with permission, by Tony Markle. You can buy prints of his work here. All hovertext bird facts are from Wikipedia.



  1. Oh wow. Not only prosh little birds, but beeeeeeeeeyoootiful photos. *love*

  2. Ohhhh!!! LOOOOVE these pictures!!

  3. What lovely pictures! Thank You for sharing!

  4. Gorget!

  5. Where the boid sucks, there suck I:
    In a cowslips, bell I lie;
    There I couch when owls do cry,
    On the bat’s back I do fly

  6. That there is some right fine photography.

  7. Ariel? Is that you?

  8. (The Original) Mel says:


    I’m a hummingbird and I’m OK. I sleep all night and I hum all day.

  9. Okay, the water hose pic is to die for!! I’ve never seen that happen and I love this image. Such clever buggers!

    Thank you so much!

  10. These are gorgeous photos! Thanks for sharing. I added a print to my Christmas wishlist. There’s just something so peaceful about the image of a resting hummingbird. It makes me stop and catch my breath and smile.

  11. That first picture is just gorgeous!!! God and His color combination choices never cease to amaze me.

  12. hbird tongue! OMG!!

  13. “Gorget”? I think the hummingbirdologists have their own cute-speak. More like gorgo-licious, if you ask me! These little baby birdlets are gorgo-licious!

  14. P.S. They flap their wings 90 times per SECOND?? The mind boggles.

  15. Cambridge Rat Mom says:

    Also from Wikipedia, interesting information about their color. That’s why in some pictures (i.e., light) they will look incredibly bright and iridescent and in others, they will look drab and non-descript.

    “Many of the Hummingbird species have bright plumage with exotic colouration. In many species, the coloring does not come from pigmentation in the feather structure, but instead from prism-like cells within the top layers of the feathers. “When light hits these cells, it is split into wavelengths that reflect to the observer in varying degrees of intensity. The Hummingbird wing structure acts as a diffraction grating. The result is that, merely by shifting position, a muted-looking bird will suddenly become fiery red or vivid green.[27] However, not all hummingbird colors are due to the prism feather structure. The rusty browns of Allen’s and Rufous Hummingbirds come from pigmentation. Iridescent hummingbird colors actually result from a combination of refraction and pigmentation, since the diffraction structures themselves are made of melanin, a pigment.[28]”

  16. O NO He/She/It DI-unt!!! says:


    (Methinks *somebody* is a Tad Familiar with Monty Pyyyyyyyyyython…..)

  17. O NO He/She/It DI-unt!!! says:

    ooooooooooooooooooh and also aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh


  18. O NO He/She/It DI-unt!!! says:

    wow. incredibly wow.

    I never thought I’d see photography challenging the level of detail.
    to be found in/ through National Geographic.

  19. “Bummingherds” reminds of this poem I memorized years ago:

    A Port Shoem
    By the Speverend Rooner

    I’ve a gouse and a hardon in the country
    An ace I call my plown
    A treat I can replace to
    When I beed to knee alone
    Yes, wature here is nunderfull
    There is no weed for nerds
    While silling by my windowflutter
    Biny little turds.

    (I didn’t write this; it was one of the Monty Python guys — Terry Jones, I think.)

  20. Evolution and its colour combination choices never cease to amaze me.


  21. Those scaly-looking feathers kinda freak me out a little bit for some reason… kinda in the same way that belly snowballs on puppies freak me out.

    Pretty birdy anyway though!

  22. I was so taken by the beauty of the birds and the photos I missed that Meg called them Bummingherds. hehe too cute.

  23. Wow. We get Birds and Bloom magazine and it often features hummie photos but this guy is GOOD! Excellent photos!

    Btw, hummies don’t always leave cold climates during the winter so keep your feeders up. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have them come all winter long once we learned to keep our feeders out. In fact, with the recent cold snap there are THREE coming daily, fighting over our feeder. (They’re notoriously territorial.) When the feeder freezes we go out in the AM and bring it in to warm it. They are waiting in the trees/bushes when we bring it back out.

  24. Love it! Lewis Carroll would be proud. 🙂

  25. Oh, and did anyone else notice in the photo of the raindrops, at the end of his dark beak is his thin, long white tongue getting the water.

  26. psychethos says:

    You said “bumming” and “hummers” all in one post. I think you may unintentionally attract a crowd who will be mighty disappointed with what you have on offer.

  27. tesstricks says:

    Freaking amazing photos.

  28. haaaaaahhhhhh, more like gorgeousoverload, except for the last one at the hose, spectacularoverload! Thank you Meg!

  29. Jumped to the link. More amazing photos. I also read all the posts. Apparently he does use photoshop on his photos. I imagine it would be really hard to get photos that incredible with “normal” shots. But still, gorgeous. He said they have 500 hummies come daily to their yard! WOW!

  30. Awww the pix of tiny glurpage at the end!!

  31. incredible, magical birds. PBS had a great show about them. these are amazing pics.

    notice the little tongue action photo #5! eep!

  32. Reminds me of the time I took a Lake Erie tramp steamer to Cleveland. I went to Skyline Chili and ordered a three-way, and then stopped at my favorite salon for a facial. Then off to the Cleveland Zoo. Long story short, a cougar escaped (“Mmf!,” I gasped), but after many ups and downs, there was a happy ending.

  33. Do you know Shel Silverstein’s book Runny Babbit? It’s full of these.

  34. No, I don’t. But now I shall seek it out!

    Many years ago, when I was a pimply teen, Monty Python published a book of bits and pieces that never made it into the TV show or the movies. I saw this poem and, completely charmed, committed it to memory. When you consider the things I’ve forgotten in the last 25 years, that’s pretty remarkable.

  35. Basically, I saw the title “Bummingherds” in my feed reader, and then the first photo, and I thought, “Awwwww . . . biny little turds.” Then it all came flowing back like the hot kiss at the end of a wet fist.*

    *No-prize to whoever gets that reference.

  36. I see what you did there…

  37. That was a tongue? I thought it was spitting out water, and I thought “Wow bummingherds sure know how to have a good time!”

  38. There’s a time and a place, man. A time and a place.

    I come here for cuteness and whimsy, and overlook the lapses of my fellow sentient hominids.

    (Now, if Maeby wants to comment at Pharyngula, then all bets are off. But I don’t see her doing that.)

    [Also, evolution is not teleological. It doesn’t make choices.]

  39. Does it make anybody else’s week that these are called “Zunzuncitos”? 😯

  40. Bossy McWay-Getter says:

    “Zunzuncito,” translated literally, would be “Little Zoon-zoon.” So cute! (I also like the Spanish word for “peacock” — “pavo real” — which translated literally would be “royal turkey.”)

  41. Was that Monty Pythons Big Red Book?

    Reminds me of a wonderful book from some years ago– I never see it anywhere anymore:

  42. And that all got past moderation!

  43. Hee. I am evil.

  44. omg the fifth picture!!!! cute overloaaaaad!

  45. Big Red Book sounds about right. 25 years! A long time, and it wasn’t my book. Lord knows what I was doing when that poem got burned into my synapses.

    “Mots d’Heures: Gousses, Rames”? Eau l’crappe, that’s way past my abilities.

  46. Breathtaking.

  47. Fist-bump!!
    Iridescence in a 40 million-year old bird feather ROCKS!

  48. A gorget was a protective (armoured) collar for soldiers, but also as so beeyootifully illustrated above, a brightly coloured throat patch on boids.

  49. They’re like little flying jewels. Just stunning.

  50. When I was young and good-lookin’, I used to tell people, “You know what style they should resurrect? Gorgets for dudes!”

    Gorgets look awesome in 18th c. portraits, and I still think that some forward-thinking silversmith could totally make a fortune by reintroducing the gorget as a men’s fashion statement, but I doubt if it happens.

  51. Beautiful. Just beautiful!

  52. Phabulous Photos!!!!! Kudos to Tony Markle.

  53. That’s pushing the edges of my Spanish.

    “Little zunzuns?”

    Is “zunzun” an onomatopoeia?

    Would that be zumzumelhas in Brazilian Portuguese?

    In which case, my week is made, but I hate making my week on the basis of half-informed speculation.

  54. What maeby said. 🙂 These little guys are just amazing. We mere humans just wish we could craft something as lovely and fascinating as those feathers.

  55. I WANT clothing in the color and form of the first bird’s throat feathers. WANT. Badly.

  56. I love cats says:

    I am always amazed by nature’s beauty. I mean, the throat feathers are arranged so beautifully, their eyes are like precious stones with lashes delicately placed around them. I love these birdies!!!!!! (I love cats too!)

  57. Oooh, I’ve never seen one drink water before.

  58. Mother Nature is a so much better “fashion designer.”

  59. The photography is incredible! The detail on the birds feathers – amazing!

  60. Great photos. But for the record, it’s not a Cuban bee hummingbird, as it says in the hover text. It sure looks to me like a rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), which breed in the Pacific Northwest. Just a note for other bio-geeks.

  61. Those are some amazing photos of my favorite kind of birds. 😀

  62. Wow!! These are the most fantastic photos I’ve ever seen of hummers! Kudos to Tony Markel, both with the camera and with the computer. (I wish I had more of his talent… not to mention his photo gear.)

  63. Thank You

  64. But people do. Out of nothing, something?

  65. Yes, and I need adjusting; I’m only picking up the shopping channel.

    “This gorgeous faux, ersatz, goldish look alike, ring; with handcut multi faceted, diamond sort off glass stone; can be yours for the knock down never to be repeated [till tomorrow] price of 15000 bucks. Look how it sparkles [can we have more light here] with pellucid [ cut the close up would yer] intencity, whilst………..”

  66. Teleological – Ooh; a new word [to me] mayest I use it HP?

  67. Hey, no fair. I call a personal foul on here. This isn’t cute… it’s flipping GORGEOUS. 🙂

  68. Hon Glad, it’s totally a regular dictionary-type word. The more people using it, the merrier!

    BTW: “teleological” is 10x stronger if you use it in the same sentence as “contingent.”

  69. you know, if i had a dubloon suspended in amber for every time i’ve had that exact thought…

  70. oh, never fear. i suspect a run on hummingbird tattoos in the next few days. can you buy stock in tattoo shops? i would. (ticker symbol: INKINC?)

  71. Gah! What the ‘airy ‘ell is this, then?

  72. LOL, that’s beautiful. “No weed for nerds.” It brings a tear to my eye…

    Here’s another famous quote from the real (?) Reverend Spooner:
    “Sir, you have tasted two whole worms; you have hissed all my mystery lectures and been caught fighting a liar in the quad; you will leave by the next town drain”.


    Hummingbirds are my favourite birds. They are amazing. Evolution is a wondrous thing.

  74. Indeed, evil. Evil GENIUS!!! 😉

  75. OMG amazing!! The details on the feathers are incredible. When I was a kid a hummingbird flew into my house, and my dad got it down with a broom. It actually SAT on it, and sat on our fingers for a minute or two before flying away!!!

  76. Yes, Little Zun-zun! It makes perfect sense!!

  77. I adore that last photo! SO cute!
    Fabulous photos!

  78. I’m pretty sure (like 100%) it’s his tongue. They are LONG and skinny to reach into those flowers for nectar! But your explanation is funnier.

  79. Yeah, if you jump to the link and read (thoroughly) ALL the pics are of rufous hummies.

  80. Wow, the scaly feathers in the front are STUNNING!! Never new hummingproshbirds have those. Thanks!

  81. I actually paused my Pandora music so I could read that bit very intently. I, too, said “oooh” and “aaahhhhhh”!

  82. HP -May I presume to offer…Preterpluperfect ?

  83. Makes you want to get more feeders, doesn’t it?

  84. Yet another reason to get more feeders!!!

  85. Nice colors in the first pic 🙂

  86. OH wow, I didn’t know that… Ok, I’ll put mine back out… I usually put them up by about the middle of November… Thanks for sharing that, Jane!!!

  87. Looks like a tongue to me!

  88. I would love to see a pic of their teeny feet sitting on a branch! For some reason those teeny toes just kill me! But the detail in the feathers is totally amazing… And I can’t get over that wee tongue!!

  89. They are also called “zumbadores” in Puerto Rico, again because of the sound they make. You can sometimes see them hovering about the Bird of Paradise flowers, their iridiscent feathers gleaming green and turquoise against the bright red, yellow and orange of the flowers, and it’s like a child God decided to paint with all the colors of the rainbow…

  90. Stunning photography!

  91. @Maeby–I’m with you!

  92. love the photos. the neck-ruff looks like a beard! Those feathers are HUGE compared to the head feathers! nature is amazing.

  93. Oh mah gah. He’s drinking out of the garden hose!!!

  94. Woweee, wow, wow!

  95. OMG, I was thinking the same thing…and the ombre change in the feather color…gorge!

  96. “Zumbadores”! *thud*

  97. My dear departed dad would often refer to them as bummingherds. Makes me smile to read someone else doing it…

    And we’d usually get several Anna’s (ruby throats) with a Rufous around the feeder on the back patio. Sometimes when he refilled the feeder he’d get multiple customers while the feeder was still in his hand.

  98. A couple of random thoughts:

    1) The scaly looking feathers make perfect sense to me when I think about the concept that birds evolved from reptilian ancestors.

    2) Regarding the onomatopoeiaic (?) names for bummingherds in other languages, there is also a mountain near here named Mt. Umunhum (native Ohlone for “resting place of the hummingbird).

    Amazing things, these bummingherds!

  99. absolutely!!!

  100. The Dutchess of Cupcake says:

    Amazing, beautiful, stunning.

  101. I LOVE!!!! the tiny tongue.

  102. They just had a whole article (Birds and Bloom mag. again) that talked about how they are learning that many hummies do not leave because of cold weather. They do travel around a lot but I think the general thought was that we still don’t know enough about these little birds and their migratory patterns. But they gave several examples of banding many of them and finding them return to the same feeding area 6, 7 years in a row and being able to well-tolerate cold temps.

  103. Lol. Every time I type “Birds and Bloom” it reminds me of “Horse and Hound” from the movie “Notting Hill”.

  104. I want to know where he lives that attracts so many.

  105. One day, I was watering my garden with a shower spray on the end of a hose; the water softly shot out several feet. A hummingbird accidently flew through the spray and quickly flew away. It stopped for a moment and returned to the spray where it hovered, facing the spray. and danced in the water for several seconds in pure enjoyment. I could honestly say it looked like it was laughing!

  106. warrior rabbit says:

    Thanks for the image, Tim! I can totally picture it.

  107. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    bwa ha ha

    SO accurate, HG!! You’ve summarized my entire grudging opinion of them annoying shopping channels…

  108. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    @ HP : Tres excellent!!! Inversion yay!

  109. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    Jane gets an A+ on Boidie Care and Encouragement 🙂

  110. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    and–Jane–YUP!! I was enjoying that detail as well.
    Part of the awesome level of detail I was appreciating above (somewhere) earlier/ yesterday.

  111. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    @ HP: so you and the tramp had a three-way???

  112. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    Madame X:

    PLEASE write several books, now. Your sentence/ adjective composishe skillz R love-R-ly. Truly.

    And I read Jane Eyre — as LEISURE reading–
    in the 7th grade.

  113. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    PERFECT PERFECT summary, Lillith!!

  114. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    wow I for one, entirely appreciate your item #2

    Mt. Umunhum.

    I feel more Zen already.

  115. Euparkeria says:

    Feels good to REALLY appreciate how cool that is, doesn’t it? I actually feel bad for the ID/Creation folks because they haven’t reached that point yet. The real explanations are so much more satisfying than “god done it.” Oh, well.

  116. Hi Tim. Your explanation of the hummingbird in the water is what happens to me every year. I believe they actually “ask” me to keep the spray going so they can dance and twirl in the water. I have a FABULOUS image of them doing that….if I could just figure out a way to upload it.

    I live in the Pacific Northwest and we now have Anna’s winter over. Last week it snowed and it go FABULOUS images of these little guys standing knee deep in white fluffy snow. To die for!

  117. condescend a smidgen more, why doncha? just a SMIDGE. *bummingherd-sized disapproval*

  118. ooh! ahhh! also, neat-o!

  119. these photos are fantastic! hummingbirds are such lovely creatures. and although they exert incredible amounts of energy to power their wings up to full ‘bumming’ speed, in fact they spend the majority of their time engaged in a pursuit i can really get behind–sleeping and/or jus’ chillin’ on a twig. ahn.

  120. Hi Jane. I don’t know how to use photoshop, but have some very spectacular images of hummingbirds that are very much like these – close up, fighting for territory, showering in the mist, standing in the snow, etc.

    I can’t seem to upload them…or I’d share.

    These tiny creatures are fearless..and they let you know it! I was graced to save two this summer after a near-death-by-window experience. Although the trauma of having them hit a window about killed me, to help them “recover” was a gift I’ll never forget! MAGIC!

  121. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:


    In college French (3rd/ 4th year classes) we studied the Pluperfect/ aka
    (fasten yer seatbelts, kids!!!)

    “la plus-que-parfait”

    and we actually had to get some of it correct, to get decent grades.

    so ka CHING,
    HG!!! I gotcher reference 🙂 and am delighted
    to know that I’m not the only living hooman bean, who has heard that there phrase!!!!

  122. (on hovertexts) Wait what facts NOOOOOOOO

    My brain is fried and I need to study and there’s a test tomorrow morning big test grade riding SEEE YOU TOMORROW PEOPLES

    LIkes the hummingbird pics, btw.

  123. So what do you do with the people that believe that evolution is how God did it?

  124. You mean, not everyone did that?
    A Fellow Voracious Reader

  125. *Blush* Only because my sister subscribes to Birds and Bloom magazine and they feature hummie articles quite often. Plus, we noticed from personal experience.

    We also have a wild bird store in town and have feeders, birdhouses, plants and trees for shelter and a water feature in our backyard for the little birds.

    We get chickadees, black capped chickadees (or junkos), nuthatches, finches, bushtits, flickers, scrub jays(bullies), robins, swallows, crows, wild turkeys (once only but on our ROOF!), towhees, once a flock of cedar waxwings, Anna’s and Rufous hummingbirds. I know I’m missing some – would have to dig my bird book out to see what’s come over the years. Oh, a Cooper’s hawk who’s been making meals out of our neighbor’s doves he raises for hunting practice. 😦 We did get to see the hawk up close several times because of this.

    And we’ve been fortunate to have chickadees and nuthatches raise babies in our nests for several years. And swallows once. We have these great wood bird nest boxes from wild bird store – the size opening will attract particular sized birds. The great feature is that the roof is hinged and when mama and papa leave the nest you can take it down and open the lid and look at the eggs/babies. SOOOOO cute! The wild bird experts said it’s no problem, nothing will keep the parents away but we do wait until we’ve seen both fly out. Once in awhile they catch us and scold us. As soon as we put the nest box back in the tree they fly in to see if everthing’s okay. We are conviced that we have several generations of chickadees and nuthatches raised here that keep coming back. They don’t seem that concerned when we are out doing yard work. They’ll come eat and bathe within a few feet of us.

    Wow, I guess you shouldn’t compliment me or you’ll get an essay! LOL!

  126. Oh, and leave the nest boxes/birdhouses outdoors all year long. That way they have the outdoor scents that a tree would have. And you don’t have to add or empty nesting material. They like to take care of that themselves.

  127. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    best ‘o luck on them they-re tests, mah man.

    (does some kinda voodoo raindance to invoke Gods of A+)

  128. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    @ Wend:

    glad to know that I’m not the ONLIEST one.
    And melikes your aka !!!

  129. O NO He/ She/ It DI-unt!!! says:

    But such a NICE as well as INFORMATIVE essay 🙂

  130. Thank you! We love watching the little birdies and providing a nice area for them.

  131. I’m at work and just did a really embarrassing “HA!” when I read “Bummingherds” and I now have extremely embarrassing giggle fever!

  132. I think these must be the best hummie pix I’ve ever seen. They move FAST and are very aggressive! When I lived in the sunny Bay Area (I’m now on the chilly East Coast), we had a feeder outside our kitchen window and would watch them dueling like feisty little Musketeers. Some even had scars from beak wounds — I kid you not. They drained our feeder dry every couple of days, and would chirp angrily at us when we reached out to fetch it in for refilling, hovering menacingly until we put it out again. (And never a friendly cheep of thanks — the ingrates! ;-)). Quite the little characters — I miss having them around.

  133. i’ve seen how territorial competing males can be! they sound like flipper’s surly cousin, zipper (starts at 3’30”).

  134. Fabulous pictures!!! I love hummingbirds!

  135. me 2, their so cute!!!!!