Hummingbirds are among the smallest birds in the world — and are perhaps one of the most underrated creatures in nature.
These tiny adorable birds are most well known for their rapid wing-flapping while hovering mid-air, going at a rate of about 50 flaps per second.
What we seldom realize, however, is just how incredibly exquisite hummingbirds are, and how amazing of a personality they can have.
California-based musician Tracy Johnson is extremely passionate about photographing hummingbirds, and for showcasing their inherent, unexpected beauty to the rest of the world on her Instagram account.
She first got interested in them when the vibrant colors of their feathers were reflected by the sunlight. Every time they stop and feed from her hand, or when they return to their favorite spots in the backyard, she takes the opportunity to appreciate their extraordinary beauty.
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California-based singer Tracy Johnson has an incredible passion for hummingbirds.
Her interest in photographing them first began when she caught a sudden glimpse of the range of colors in their feathers.
“Before I started photographing hummingbirds, I thought that their neck feathers were one color,” she wrote on her Instagram.
“Only after I started taking close-ups did I see the entire spectrum of the rainbow held within their iridescent feathers. Now I call them ‘flying rainbows.’”
The hummingbirds in Johnson’s backyard love to surround her, and to sit down on her hand and drink from the hand feeders.
This, to Johnson, is pure bliss.
“I have a chance to study them,” she wrote. “I get to know them the same as I would get to know a new friend.”
She has kept track of all the different species of hummingbirds she’s come across: Anna’s hummingbirds, Rufous hummingbirds, and the Allen’s, Calliope, Black-chinned, and other hybrid species.
Johnson has also noted that hummingbirds tend to be very territorial.
“They will defend their bit of land very aggressively,” she wrote. “This is a matter of life and death to them because they need access to flowers and water and females to mate with.”
They’re also exceptionally hard to photograph, because they move very quickly.
Johnson recommends patience: As hummingbirds are creatures of habit, they will hang around the same spots and branches over and over again.
“If you see him land there a couple of times over a half an hour or so, get your camera out and stand close by,” she wrote.
Her photos capture the true magnificence, depth, and complexity of a hummingbird’s coat.
Their feathers are very dense, which makes the colors appear even more intense and rich.
For the most part, she said, male hummingbirds have a “full head of brightly colored feathers,” while females often have polka dot patterns or just one small patch of colors on their necks.
Most interestingly of all, Johnson described the incredibly sweet temperament of the hummingbirds.
“It’s amazing to me how much personality can fit into such a tiny little body,” she wrote. “She’s a little less than two inches tall. And… she would never, in a million years, try to poke my eyes out!”
Thank you, Tracy Johnson, for making us appreciate such unexpected beauty.
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