1. Day says

    Wauw, it looks like their wings are made of rubber, and are just bouncing all over the place. It’s also fascinating to see that they actually move their wings back and forth, instead of up and down.

  2. Bjørn Konestabo says

    I’m sorry to break it to you, but the rubber-like appearance of the wings is due to the rolling shutter of the camera. A common issue with CMOS-based ccds.

  3. F says

    Well, Bjørn just answered my question, which was, “Why do they look like they are flapping like penguins in this video?”

    Can’t say I’ve ever seen a video artifact quite like it!

  4. Rob Clack says

    I assume the (deeply impressive!) ‘one wing forward and one wing back’ effect is also an camera-induced artefact.

  5. UXO says

    You know, between posts like this and the auto-tuner stuff, one might start to wonder whether the whole rationalist/atheist/non-woo community has ANY musical sense AT ALL.

    My ears! Make it stop!

  6. hznfrst says

    This was beautiful, music included! I don’t like the auto-tuner crap at all, though – go figure.

  7. JackC says

    Thanks for already answering the question about the oddity of the wings moving. I felt it had to be something like that, but my experience is all with still cameras. Knowing it related to a rolling shutter helped a lot though.

    I was thinking it just might be my miserable playback.

    Loved the video – and the music. Quite a bit better than many pieces I have heard on some videos.


  8. Moveable Type says

    The first time I saw Hummingbirds in the wild, I was walking from Santa Monica down to Venice Beach. I had just seen Brown Pelicans flying in the opposite direction when I saw them and I was truly gob-smacked; I almost shouted to those other pedestrians who were totally oblivious and then I realised that they were so used to the sight of these amazing animals it was nothing unusual.

    They don’t know how lucky they are.

  9. Sven DiMilo says

    they tread AIR!

    They do indeed; nice way to put it.

    That alternating-wing illusion in this vid is really unfortunate. If we didn’t have Bjørn’s comment @#2 a lot of people would get the wrong idea about what these amazing animals* are doing.

    MUCH better (ImO) slo-mo hummer footage:

    *The heartrate of a hovering hummer can be 1200 beats per minute! The heart has to contract (to pump) and relax (to fill) 20 times per second!

  10. Sven DiMilo says

    that said,


    (NSFW, probably, and not just because Frank decided to take his shirt off)

  11. Chris Hughes says

    This was beautiful, music included!

    Pictures, yes. The ‘music’ no — it’s the kind of drivel that drives me nuts! Never gets anywhere…

  12. Brownian, OM says

    There’s a second or two starting at 1:29 in which the bird stares right at the camera, head just slightly cocked and looking quizzical.

    So-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o adorable!

  13. UXO says

    I said:

    one might start to wonder whether the whole rationalist/atheist/non-woo community has ANY musical sense AT ALL.

    and got:

    Posted by: hznfrst Author Profile Page | March 1, 2010 8:56 AM

    This was beautiful, music included!

    … aaaaand…

    Posted by: JackC Author Profile Page | March 1, 2010 9:45 AM

    […] Loved the video – and the music.

    … so… I guess that’s question answered? :)

  14. says

    Nice footage! It’s easy enough to damp the sound and skip the music.

    Hummers don’t know they’re “cute”—they’re aggressive as all hell. I’ve seen them chase accipiters (specialist bird-eating hawks) and Himself, the resident male Anna’s, gives me a scolding when I get too close to the feeder on the front porch.

    Allen’s hummers (the kind in that video) are a little smaller than Anna’ses and a little more aggressive too; I’ve seen them chase Anna’s males. Conveniently, you can tell them apart by the chase notes: what they holler when they’re chasing. Convenient because they’re usually moving too fast to see.

    Ours fly in when the front door’s open, so I’ve had them in hand a number of times. Extraordinary: when one’s clinging to my fingerprints, it’s too light to feel.

  15. UXO says

    Posted by: idlemind Author Profile Page | March 1, 2010 11:53 AM

    Music snobs. Jeesh. Worse than Mac-heads.

    Guess I’d better not admit what I’m using in that case…. ;)

  16. BruceJ says


    It’s not limited to CMOS sensors, this is an artifact of a focal plane shutter as found on most SLR’s since the invention of the SLR.

    People have utilized this effect to advantage , using view cameras with scanners as the ‘film’

  17. Glen Davidson says

    Super-agile, supberbly decorated flying spears.

    There’s nothing like sticking your head in the flowers all day to make you (well, them, at least) want stab every living thing that comes near to you.

    Glen D

  18. daveau says

    It’s not limited to CMOS sensors, this is an artifact of a focal plane shutter as found on most SLR’s since the invention of the SLR.

    Yeah. I discovered that with our old SLR 20 years ago when I got a head on shot of a moving 2-blade propeller that had a 150/210 degree angle in it.

    I love those gorgeous ruby throats. We get them once in a while, but not very often.

  19. D says

    UXO, I wouldn’t say it’s about any presence or absence of musical sense, but rather that there’s simply no accounting for taste. Some people just like a groovy beat and a catchy tune, and there’s no universally accepted definition of what is “groovy” or “catchy” anyhow. (And should there ever be, it would quickly be exhausted, leaving people starved for novelty, and so on and so forth.)

    I, for one, enjoyed it as generic trance fluff. It was something to drone in the background and enhance my appreciation of the visuals. But then, one man’s trash and all of that. Just so long as you don’t go on about how you appreciate things on a much deeper level than everybody else… :)

  20. Coran says

    That is awesome. I visited San Diego a few weeks ago and saw some hummingbirds in Balboa Park. Not having anything like it in Australia, it took me several seconds to work out what the blurry bird-thing was. I tried to catch a photo of it, but quickly realised I didn’t stand a chance.

  21. Ichthyic says

    hmm, some of the new dslr’s like my Nikon d90 do video via leaving the shutter entirely open and recording on the cmos directly.

    I do in fact have some hummer vids shot at a pretty fast speed, and don’t see the rolling motion.

    my flicker account has unfortunately expired, so I can’t demonstrate, but has anyone else tried this with one of the “live-view” type cameras?