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Hand Feeding
Hummingbird Video
by Bill McClure

This is my "Hand Feeding Hummingbird Video" which was a
"Thrill of a Lifetime".

Yeah, I know I don't look too thrilled in the picture, but that's only because the slightest movement, including smiling, will chase them off. It's really hard to sit in front of the video camera waiting for this to happen with a fake, forced smile on your face! In any case, this was taken in August 2008 when I had the most hummingbirds I've ever seen in my life.

I live in the mountains of Virginia, we always get the most during the late summer and fall migration when the ruby-throats are heading back down toward Mexico. I had so many zipping around on my deck, I thought it would be fun to feed them by hand with a small feeder.

I started out by sitting on my deck and hand-feeding them by holding a small feeder in one hand. After they started coming to me for that, I just raised my other hand to give them something to perch on! This happened several times, but I only got it filmed on video just once.

As you'll see, the slightest movement was enough to scare them off, even just swallowing involuntarily from my heart beating so fast! One of my sisters said I must be a "hummingbird whisperer" if they trusted me that much.

What a Hand Feeding Hummingbird Video!

WOW! Thanks to Bill for a great video. This is something to try for those of you who have loads of hummingbirds frequenting their feeders.

Some tricks that I learned:

  • If you have multiple feeders out, take them all down before you try to  tempt a hummingbird to eat out of your hand.
  • Set up your video camera on a tripod, very important for a quality video.
  • Use a clip-on microphone with a cord attached to your camcorder (You may need an extension cord)
  • Hold a feeder in your hand, as long as it is the only feeder available, they  will nervously come to it and drink the nectar.

You must exercise patience, this is the hard part, it may take as short as 10 or 15 minutes or much longer depending on how many hummingbirds are visiting your feeders.

In my experience, the easiest time to attempt this is at the time when the juvenile hummingbirds have just fledged the nest. These young hummingbirds  are less experienced and more fearless.

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