Carla Brennan's Blog

Reflections and Photos from The Big Trip and Beyond . .

Hummingbird King of the Garden


Hummingbird King of the Garden
Summer 2021
Santa Cruz, CA

For the last few months, a male Anna’s Hummingbird has reigned over our little flower garden. He has several shady spots where he rests between bouts of sipping nectar or chasing other hummers. If a hummingbird dares to trespass into his home territory, the Little King – with incredible swiftness and precision – vanquishes the intruder with an aerial chase that includes great whirring of wings and noisy chatter.

One of his favorite spots to sit and patrol the garden is on the lower branches of the apple tree. I also sit under that tree about 6-8 feet from him and we enjoy sharing the space and observing the flowers together. Sometimes he sits silently while other times he emits an energetic series of delicate chirps. Overall the Little King is a chatty bird and I can usually find him if I wait and listening for his voice.

But this week he has disappeared. I feel bereft; before I could always count on his presence. I listen for his cheerful twittering but hear nothing. A female Anna’s has started showing up regularly but she seems to call somewhere else home.

Has he moved on? To greener, more flowery pastures? Has something happened to him? He seems too fast and agile to be captured by a neighborhood cat or a marauding Cooper’s hawk. But they are known to prey on hummers.

During these months of sharing the garden with the Little King, I’ve patiently sat with my camera in my lap, hoping to capture those moments when his head feathers flash red-pink. As David Allen Sibley says, “the iridescent colors of the throat of a male hummingbird are among the most refined and spectacular colors in all of nature.” Only when the light and the viewing angle are right, do the colors light up, and often for only seconds as the bird ceaselessly moves from flower to flower. Otherwise his head and throat appear deep black.

Below is a sampling of photographs of the Hummingbird King as well as the new gray-green female visitor. In one photo of the female, you can see the rarely viewed small patch of red-pink on her throat.

Please do not use photographs without permission. To inquire about permission, contact Carla at:

3 thoughts on “Hummingbird King of the Garden

  1. INCREDIBLE shots! (And I don’t mean vaccines). I hope your King comes home soon

  2. Carla

    I’m not sure if this is the correct way to respond to your post but I’m giving it a try.

    Not only do I love the hummingbird images I love the image of you sitting in your garden with senses poised for his visit.

    It inspires me to sit more often in my garden. Of course in California you don’t have the mosquitoes to contend with.

    I was so glad a to see you last month.

    Wishing you well on preparations for your next adventure.

    Love Lucy

    Sent from my iPad

    • Hi Lucy,
      I highly recommend sitting quietly in the garden as a meditative, connecting experience. Although I realize the bugs can be a problem! If you can, give yourself at least 10 minutes to settle in. At first it may seem like “nothing is happening” but gradually, as you relax and become still, nature reveals herself. Love, Carla

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s