Resources & Links
Feeders and Supplies
- First Nature Feeders - My personal choice of feeders for easy cleaning and filling.
- C&H Pure Cane Sugar - Any brand will do, but this is all you need to make your own hummingbird nectar. Mix at a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Better than any store bought nectar because there or no dyes, preservatives, or other additives that can be harmful to the birds.
- Ant/Insect Moats - Hang your feeders from these, and fill the moats with water, to keep the ants and other crawling insects away from the feeders.
- Handheld Feeders - The brand we bought is no longer available, and ours came with suction cups to attach to windows, but these are best used if you want to hand feed them. Most of the ones that have suction cups don't stick very well to the windows anyway. You can find many similar types of products on Amazon.
- Hanging Brackets - I bought the 2-pack of these 12-inch hanging brackets, and mounted them above our kitchen window. I then used some decorative chain hanging from these brackets down to about the middle of the window, and then hung the feeders on the end of the chain. Great way to have hummingbird feeders right outside your window. We have a similar bracket at the corner of our house in our backyard garden, at hang feeders directly from it, about 7 feet up, which seems to be the most popular feeder location in our whole garden.
- Shepherd Hooks - My wife bought several of these from our local nursery, but they look just like these. We have about 8 of them in various heights that we place in different places in the garden to hang our feeders. Some of the hooks on these are too wide for the plastic hooks at the top of the feeders, but they work great paired with the ant moats (above) which have bigger hooks.
- Anti-Collision Window Decals - We had over 40 hummingbirds chasing each other around in our backyard during the fall and winter, and we had a couple of window collisions. With a bit of research, I landed on this solution. Since we put these on the windows facing the garden, we have not had any more collisions. These are the static cling type stickers, so they won't leave a residue if you remove or change them.
Photo/Video Gear, Software & Accessories
- Canon R5 - After borrowing this camera from a friend, to compare to my Canon 5DmkIV, I knew I had to buy one for myself. The focus tracking, which can lock to the eyes of animals (including tiny hummingbirds), is just amazing for both photos and video! Up to 20fps shooting in electronic shutter mode. Lots of video options including 120fps at 4K, and even shoots in 8K (good luck finding a video editor that can handle it, though). This was well worth the price!
- Canon R10 - If you're on a budget, or just starting out with professional cameras, this new release from Canon is what I would buy. It inherits all the subject tracking technology of the R3 (which is even better than my R5), so it should work great with hummingbirds. This is a "crop sensor" camera, meaning that it's not full frame (like the R3 or R5), but that actually works great for wildlife and birds because it essentially gives you a 1.6X magnification factor to your lens, so a 400mm lens on the R10 would give you the equivalent magnification of a 640mm lens on a full frame sensor. My R5 does have a "crop mode" that allows me to use lenses made just for crop body cameras, but is also good on full frame lenses when I want to do the cropping in the viewfinder as opposed to later in editing.
- Canon R7 - If you like the idea of a crop sensor camera for the extra magnification factor and smaller size/weight, and your budget is a bit more than what the R10 costs, then the R7 is what you want! It's got a newer sensor with higher resolution, and a faster drive, and still has all the subject tracking features of the R3.
- Canon EF 100-400mm lens - This lens is simply Amazing, and is razor sharp! I bought this originally for my Canon 5DmkIV camera, so it's the original EF mount instead of the newer mirrorless RF mount. So, in order to use it on my Canon R5, I have to use the EF to RF adapter. But, even with the adapter, it is still super fast and super sharp! The majority of my hummingbird photos and videos were taken with this lens.
- Canon RF 100-500mm lens - If you are starting out with a Canon R series mirrorless camera, then this is the lens you want! It's kind of like a newer version of the 100-400 lens I own, but built for the RF mount with an extra 100mm of reach and is actually a bit lighter in weight than the lens I own. Reviews for this lens are all pretty much outstanding. If I had bought my Canon R5 camera first, this is the lens I would have bought (but I was still using my older Canon 5DmkIV when I bought the 100-400 lens). It's a bit more expensive, and if you don't need the extra reach, and can handle a bit more weight, you could pick up a 100-400 for about $500 less, although you still would need to spend an additional $100 on the EF to RF adapter to be able to use it.
- DxO PureRAW 2 - This is my secret weapon for my hummingbird photos, and completely changed the way I take photos! Follow the link and download the trial of PureRAW2, or PhotoLab6 (if you want more control), and see how much it can change the way you shoot. In a nutshell, PureRAW allows you to shoot at a MUCH higher ISO than you may have ever previously considered, and it gives you clean and sharp images with zero effort! I now routinely shoot up to ISO 16,000, and sometimes even higher, in our very shady/dark backyard garden, so that I can set a high enough shutter speed to stop the fast moving action of the hummingbirds. I then take all my RAW files, dump them into PureRAW2 and let it batch process them. It cleans up the noise, does sharpening & demosaicing, and all the lens corrections, without you having to do anything. I then import the resulting DNG files into Adobe Lightroom, and do some quick adjustments to exposure and color, and I'm done!
- Hummingbirds documentary on Amazon Prime - This is an amazing documentary that is a much watch for any hummingbird lovers. Amazon description: "David Attenborough takes us into the remarkable lives of hummingbirds via stunning slow motion photography. Everything about these tiny birds is superb and extreme. They have the highest metabolism, fastest heart beat and most rapid wing beat in the avian world. They evolved to feed on flowering plants but are now a crucial part of wider ecosystems. How do they mate, raise their young, and live?"
- Super Hummingbirds - episode of Nature on PBS.
- Audubon.org - Great resource for info on any type of bird