Tricia Booker Photography

Hummingbirds To The Rescue

Female in Flight

Female in Flight

Today, I had to say goodbye to my seed and suet feeders, so the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds will now be my focus for a while.

Last night a huge black bear visited our house and tore down the bird feeders. We were awakened at 1:30 a.m. to the sounds of crashing and banging on the front porch. Thinking it was the pesky raccoons, I quickly ran downstairs to rescue them.

Imagine my surprise when I turned on the porch light and found an immense black bear staring at me through the window, just a few feet away. Let’s just say any blurry-eyed sleepiness was instantly gone as I watched him nonchalantly munch on my suet and seed and then stroll down the front walk.

He had torn down the ceramic bird feeder hanging on the front porch, which shattered on impact, sending birdseed everywhere. He also mutilated the suet feeder and damaged my new squirrel-proof feeder, which I did manage to semi-repair today.

My neighbor informed me that the bear had visited her house as well, but it was more interested in their pick-up truck. He left a deep claw mark all the way from the window to the bottom of the driver’s side door. She wasn’t sure what he was after, as there was no food in the truck.

So, it’s time to put away the bird feeders and concentrate on my Hummingbird friends, whose timing couldn’t have been more ideal. Their sugar feeders are set up on our second-story deck, so unless this bear gets super bold and climbs two sets of stairs, they’ll be safe. I’ll miss my Goldfinches, Nuthatches, Chickadees, Cardinals and Towhees, but I’d prefer not to come face-to-face with a 500-pound bear again any time soon.

Oh, and sadly there were no images. I had my camera set out with the 70-200 and 2x teleconverter on from the previous day’s shooting, and he was much too close for me to even get a shot. For this photo shoot of a full-grown black bear, a wide-angle would have been ideal. Who would have thought?


    • The settings for the hummingbird: 1/2000 at ISO 800. F 5 and focal length 200. I was sitting outside on the deck so was able to get relatively close to the feeder. The female seems less sensitive to my presence than the male.

  1. Sue

    What an awakening, to say the least. That is a much too human-acclimated bear. Really nice HB photo — have fun photographing them.

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  3. That bear was a little too close for comfort! Kind of scary to think of the damage he could do. I love the hummingbird photo! Such amazing detail and clarity! We put our hummingbird feeders out today.

    • The bear returned again this week, but not for a few days. I think taking all of the feeders in from the yard worked. The hummingbirds have been around a lot this week. I have a male who guards the feeders, so I’m hoping he sticks around for the summer so I can practice more often.

      • Tricia, I discovered the adult males are more cautious than the juveniles or females. Harder to find opportunities to photograph them. I hope your male is sociable, so I can see lots of your great photos!

      • So, tonight I got home at about 6 p.m. and found two males hanging out together at the feeders. They chased one another a bit but then would settle down on the feeders and relax. We had rain/mist, so it was too dark for any decent images, but I’ll see if they return tomorrow when it’s supposed to clear up.

    • Oh he’s been back and on the front porch on Thursday night. We had a staring contest through the window when the porch light went on and it was a draw. I leapt back and he jumped the railing. The feeders are all put away. The birds are sad.

  4. I love the hummingbird! They are here too.
    I would be terrified to have a bear looking at me through my window! Yikes!
    All the bird feeders are along the second floor deck, so we should be ok. Raccoons and squirrels have tried to get them, but so far not much damage.

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