share

Hummingbirds: What would you do to attract a subject?

December 21, 2008

My friend Ken Avidor sent me a link to this video and if the above embedded version doesn't work you can click here to see it.

A Minnesotan has created a "Hummer Helmet" that suspends a hummingbird feeder in front of his face. Ken thought, what a great idea for sketching these birds.

I think he's right.

So that got me thinking, have you ever done anything weird, odd, or off-beat to attract a wild sketching subject? (Of course I'm talking about fauna.) Do you sit in deer stands and wait to capture the deer on paper? Do you go out in a boat and sit on a pond and watch the bird world go by? I'd love to hear about it.

But even if your sketching life is rather tame and without contraptions check out this little video to see how this inventor came up with a way to get up close and personal with these fabulous birds.

  1. Reply

    I WANT A HUMMER HELMET!! That was totally awesome. My husband and I watched the youtube video. Thanks for posting this!

    • Roz
    • December 21, 2008
    Reply

    Briana, I have to say that when I saw this I knew I wanted one too! I think that I am most curious to experience is the humming noise all around me. And the breeze from their wings.

    Years ago my parents lived in San Diego and I went to visit and was standing in their front yard where they had one of those birds of paradise flowers, well a clump of them. I was standing sketching and suddenly at my ear there was wonderful humming. Then I saw the most wonderful little bird and he hovered right in front of my face for what seemed like forever, would dart right slightly, hover, dart left, hover, up a bit, down a bit.

    I realize they are territorial and I think it was actually checking me out as too close to his flowers! But it was several minutes of face to face time.
    Roz

    • karen
    • December 23, 2008
    Reply

    Hi. This is a fascinating product and a delightful video. But…

    You don’t need to attach a dangling vessel of sticky water to your head to see hummingbirds up close.

    Just hang a feeder outside close to your window, then stand inside, still and quiet and you will see them in all their glory. From that vantage point they won’t poop on you.

    The first time we discovered we had hummingbirds all around us at the lake was while carrying our fishing poles with the red bobbers to the dock. The hummers were following us.

    Once while wearing a brightly colored beach shirt a hummer met me eye-to-eye after scanning me up and down.

    Best time to see lots of active birds is just after the fledglings leave the nest and there aren’t many nectar flowers blooming yet. The young birds and adult females will visit a feeder every few minutes throughout the day.

    So if you know they’re around, just be aware. You don’t need special equipment to have a close encounter.

    Karen

    • Roz
    • December 23, 2008
    Reply

    Karen, Now that I know there are fledglings but no nectar flowers I’m going to have to get a feeder or worry incessantly all spring! But thank you for the post which will be helpful to the bird-poop conscious. I was thinking if I had a helmut I would just get a smock like drape of the type they use in hairdressing salons! But standing near the window is easier!

    Roz

    • karen
    • December 24, 2008
    Reply

    Roz, I don’t see how you could wear the helmet and draw, unless you’re really good at that exercise when you don’t look at your paper, or if you don’t wear bifocals. And then there’s the risk of poop on your journal.

    There are nectar flowers when the fledglings leave the nest but not as many as later in the summer so Memorial day to 4th of July they’re really zinging around the feeder.

    But if you want to have hummingbirds buzzing around your head I think the hummer helmet is the way to go.

    Karen

    • Pam Perry
    • December 24, 2008
    Reply

    I do sit under the feeder at my father’s house to draw and photograph birds. Because most of the birds are used to my 90-year-old father puttering around outside, they’ll let me pull up a chair as close as a few feet.

    One thing about the video – if any of you start feeding hummingbirds, PLEASE do not add the food coloring — it’s not necessary (the feeders all have red flowers and that’s enough to attract them) and the word is still out on its causing illness in birds. I’ve heard that in the Southwest, at some birding spots they hand out mason jars with wire around the neck and no color at all, and they get plenty of birds!

    Pam (who’s an obsessed birder)

    • Roz
    • December 24, 2008
    Reply

    Bird poop on the page would just be one of the gritty facts of life for the field sketcher! And I practice blind contour drawing every day.

    But mostly what I really want the hummer helmet for is to hear that sound all around me and feel that fiesty flutter at warp speed.

    I’ll settle for looking through the window!
    Roz

    • Roz
    • December 24, 2008
    Reply

    Pam, thank you for the heads up about the food coloring. I was wondering about that myself.

    I’m glad your father’s bird friends let you so close.

    I have visited friends who have similar set ups. I was eating breakfast on a friend’s porch in the country a while back, and a downy woodpecker came and sat close by, about 2 feet and was very companionable (long enough to sketch) and then ate from a feeder and was off.

    Roz

    • Carolyn
    • October 11, 2010
    Reply

    Oh My! Just saw this. I so much want a Hummer Helmet! Team Hummer Helmet, what a riot.

    …I want a Chickadee Cap as well. Oh boy! I can make one.

  2. Reply

    Carolyn, if you make one I want you to send me a photo of you wearing it in use!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

RozWoundUp
Close Cookmode

Pin It on Pinterest