Volcanic Jewels

After three nights at 5,000 feet, we were ready to tackle photographing the tiny Volcano Hummingbird. We ventured up to 9,500 feet, near the entrance to the crater, where this little bandit played hide and seek with us. He visited our set-up three times on separate days, but never when we were ready for him. We know where you hide! We'll just have to get you next time. 

The male Irazú Volcano Hummingbird. When well lit he has a beautiful magenta gorget. We'll get you yet!...


The female Irazú Volcanos were not so cagey. They simply refused to visit our set up. So I decided to go to them instead. 

Hard at work. Note the stamen on her face as it deposits pollen.

Our host has a beautiful garden and much more energy than I could ever hope for at that altitude.

Clearly well fed. Perhaps pregnant?


While at Irazú, we drove from the top of the mountain to our conveniently located hotel at 5,000 feet every evening. 

Next, we attempted to live for several nights at 8,800 feet. Here we set up in a narrow path and found a female and a juvenile Talamanca Volcano Hummingbird. Both were beautiful, but we did not get a visit from the male, although I did see him nearby. 

Female Talamanca Volcano Hummingbird. She is nearly indistinguishable from her Irazú cousin. Because they inhabit different mountain tops, they to not interbreed. The males have different color gorgets. 

This is a juvenile male. Maybe next time he'll be all grown up and displaying beautiful neck feathers.

Much to my surprise, the tiny Volcanoes held their own at our feeder against aggressive Magnificent Hummingbirds. It seemed that they are so small that the Magnificents couldn't be bothered. Is this a survival technique?

Although these hummingbirds had feeders readily available year round, they took their pollination job seriously as we could see by the tell tale signs of pollen on their beaks


The Poás Volcano erupted in April of 2017. It has been closed to visitors since then. We hope the third member of this species survived and that we'll be able to find it next time. 

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  • Thank you, Celie, Pam.
    These graceful little jewels always hold surprises for us that keep us going.

    • Cindy
  • Cindy,
    Truly a pleasure seeing these tiny marvels, and you two also pretty darn
    amazing up to 9,000ft and down at
    night. I particularly enjoy seeing their
    ballerina like bodies. Oh my! Safe
    lots of love,

    • celie placzek
  • Your photographs of these gorgeous birds are startlingly beautiful!

    • Pam