Readers of my Wind River Canyon Blog will already be aware that we have something in the Wind River Canyon that even the National Audubon Society says are not in Wyoming. If you've glanced at the title of this week's blog than you already know the answer: Black-chinned Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri) nest in the canyon and have for many years now!
I guess it all started when their usual southern Colorado nesting sites were devastated by forest-fires years ago. All of a sudden a few Black-chinned Hummingbirds arrived in the Wind River Canyon, and I was more than just thrilled; I never thought I'd ever be able to photograph this species in the canyon. They weren't supposed to be in Wyoming!
The first Black-chinned Hummingbird male (male hummingbirds always arrive first) to arrive in the canyon this year was observed on May 19th at 2:08 in the afternoon; very early even for them. If they are successful in reproducing, and they are less than half the time, they will return the following year. I must be doing something right after all.
Living in the Wind River Canyon with wildlife thriving all around is great fun. You observe behaviors that remain unseen by almost everyone; it's like knowing and learning a secret language. Black-chinned Hummingbirds, for instance, are a shy species, yet are sometimes stupid curious. Every year I have instances where a male will come right up to my face and hover for a few seconds; an eternity in the day of a hummingbird that has spent the winter months in Mexico!
In most species, and not just hummingbirds, the female is the easiest to get acquainted with, and the best place to start doing wildlife photography: Things that can eat you are the exception!....don't forget this valuable rule. Anyway, female hummingbirds are always great fun in the Wind River Canyon. I even won a 1st Place Award @ the Cody Art Show with a female Black-chinned Hummingbird in-flight a few years ago. The very first year that the Black-chinned Hummingbirds nested in the Wind River Canyon I knew that I was on an important mission----try and photograph the first baby Black-chinned Hummingbird to be born in the canyon!
After weeks of waiting and daily planning an opportunity presented itself. This tiny bird, born right here in the Wind River Canon in Wyoming, was waiting for me one day. I know that this baby-hummingbird wasn't posing for me, but it sure seemed like he was.
Not being enthralled with the results didn't matter; I documented an important first: The first Black-chinned Hummingbird born in the Wind River Canyon!
Other hummingbirds arrived in the canyon early this year, too. A Calliope Hummingbird male was first observed on June 14th, much earlier than their usual "first week in July schedule." And the aggressive Rufous Hummingbird was first seen on the 27th of June, and they never have been observed in the Wind River Canyon this early! What this early arrival of hummingbirds in Wyoming means is a mystery.
Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures, and they are real and living and mating right here in Wyoming! For many more photographs of hummingbirds taken right here in the Wind River Canyon visit my website----www.HogbatsPhotography.com.
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Thank you for your time!
Michael John Balog, Wind River Canyon, Wyoming