Joie Paré
The Art of Loving Nature

Rufus Hummingbird (2021)

Rufus Hummingbird

Acrylic on canvas

8” X 8”


Canadian Dollars

Tiny bird-huge ego…

Summer always brings an abundance of bird life at my place. I have three large feeders and several hummingbird feeders to attract feathered friends of over sixty species throughout the warmer months.

The Rufus hummingbird is definitely the one with the biggest attitude. The males arrive in late April and stake out territory as they wait for the females to arrive from the south a few weeks later. The brightly coloured males will pick out a perch and aggressively annoy and chase all other birds that they deem a threat. This one kept returning to a piece of driftwood I had in my deck-garden. The Rufus is also one of the most “tame” birds allowing me to get very close with my cell phone and snap several pictures. This one I liked the best as it showed his fiery confidence and feistiness quite clearly. I enjoyed painting the iridescence of his gorget. The gorget is the bright feathers of a hummingbirds throat. The feathers are actually comprised different than regular feathers. The tips of the feathers are iridescent and the individual barbules are attached at upward angles. All together they create a “grooved” surface that reflects light back directly toward an observer. There are microscopic discs in each barbule filled with air bubbles creating a wavelength of reflected colour. All the barbules work together and are intensified creating the different colours when the wavelengths “interfere” with each other. The different colours between different species is determined by the size of the air bubbles and thickness of the discs.

The feathers on the crown of my hummingbird are dark because the feathers are flat against his head, so the feathers are not reflecting directly back to the observer, but the ones in his gorget are at the right angle to create the colours back to the viewers eye.