365 Nature – Day 331

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Learn more about the project and see all the 365 Nature posts.


Another dark autumn day, but there are sparks of light all around our yard. We don’t get fireflies here, but we do get something that is just as flashy. Anna’s Hummingbirds have been a regular presence since I put the feeders back up and I’ve been watching them like I do every autumn and winter. This year we’ve had regular males visited the feeders and perching in the yard. Last year my memory, although often faulty, recalls more females than males.

This afternoon I opened the front door to peek outside and saw two males, one sitting in a lilac and the other in a maple. I slipped out the door and the bird in the lilac disappeared, but the male in the maple tree stayed perched where he was. I took a few photos and stepped closer and closer until I was on the sidewalk in front of him. Wary at first, he watched me, crouched, ready to fly away, but after a brief spell he relaxed. He was calm enough to start scratching and stretching his wings, which produced some comical poses. Eventually he spotted another hummingbird in the yard and off he flew.

Although I see them all the time, often up close, and photograph them regularly, those iridescent feathers still amaze me. And not only the changing color of the feathers, but their perfect, fan-like shape is spectacular.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of a book about urban nature, coming Spring 2020 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, ParentMap, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction.

Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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  1. The iridescent feathers are captivating. Great photographs!

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