Near dark in the Wind River Canyon an event happens that few have ever witnessed. You see, hummingbirds expend so much energy during the day that at night they enter a state called torpor; a very deep sleep where a hummingbird will lower it's metabolic rate by as much as 95%! Late in the evening, a hummingbird needs to eat just to make it through the night, and by morning the little buzzers are literally starving and need to find food quickly.
This situation of many hummingbirds needing and wanting to eat all at once leads to what is called by Shark Week, a feeding frenzy. Imagine a dozen hungry sharks, or a dozen hungry tigers that are not interested in eating you! Oh, and they are only the size of your thumb!!
Late in the evening I like to spend some quality time with my hummingbirds (I am running 5 nectar feeders right now) and can stand two feet away from the busiest and experience this "hummingbird feeding frenzy" up close and almost scary. I've taught others that the hummingbirds know how to fly, so don't flinch or be scared, at all; it can get really crazy, but it's loads of fun.
This wildlife excitement only happens when the light is lousy to shoot video. I wanted to share this wildness with everyone. The camcorder captures more light and color then my own eyes are capable of, but, the video isn't exactly Disney ready. The hummingbird video below was shot with a Sony FDR-AX53 4K camcorder at 8:40 p.m.; just twenty minutes from complete darkness here in the Wind River Canyon in central Wyoming. Just how many hummingbirds do I have in the canyon during the summer? Multiply what you see by almost five! The above video was shot last night. It will let you experience some of the excitement of "hummingbird season" in the Wind River Canyon. You will see four adult male Rufous (a rare event itself because of intense competition) and many babies and females of different species; keep your eye out 2/3 of the way through the minute-plus video to catch a glimpse of an adult Calliope Hummingbird in the top-left. This is my 20th summer with the Wyoming Hummingbirds of the Wind River Canyon; it's been a hell-of-a-ride.
Thank you for your time.
Michael John Balog - Wind River Canyon