Abigail Alfano
The Hummingbird Lady

Hand Feeding Hummingbirds

hand feeding hummingbirds
Abigail feeding hummingbirds in her jammies at 8:am

On September 14, 2006 my wife Abigail decided she'd like to 'touch' one of the 20 or 30 hummingbirds that were swarming around our feeder at the peak of their migration. With patience and determination she accomplished her goal. I am her husband Sam, and I shot the photos of her hand-feeding hummingbirds in our yard here in near Franklinton, Louisiana.

On September 20thThe Era Leader newspaper published the photos on the front page. We then emailed them to a few of our friends and had no idea they would quickly be forwarded around the world. Many of our friends have called or emailed us saying they were forwarded photos of a lady feeding hummingbirds, and it was Abigail! Had I known the photos would spread like wildfire, I would have put our names on them.

A Google search shows many sites, blogs, and forums posting these photos, with many people being skeptical of their authenticity. As a Photoshop user myself, I understand the skepticism. I can assure you that the photos are authentic in every way, with only standard adjustments such as cropping, sharpening, etc. We were also contacted by the Urban Legends dept. at About.com. Many people had forwarded the photos to them asking if they were real or fake. You can read the article here.

On a sad note, we were informed that one of Abigail's photos below had been used to win the Photo Friday picture contest on Lexington, Kentucky television station WTVQ. Each week the station awards prizes for the best photograph taken in Kentucky that week. A woman submitted the photo of the hummingbirds perched on Abigail's hands, claimed that it was her, and won. We hope she's enjoying her prize.

[UPDATE] Mr. Jon James, chief meteorologist of WTVQ contacted us and apologized for being scammed by the woman who submiited our photo in order to win the contest. He said he would address this in one of his broadcasts and "call her out". Thanks, Jon! Hummingbird justice has been served!

This has been quite an experience, and has drawn a lot of attention from people around the world. We hope that you enjoy the photos, especially now that you know they are real. ~Sam Alfano

All photos taken with a Canon 20D w/50mm f1.4 lens

NEWS FLASH! - Urban legend site Snopes.com investigates and authenticates Abigail's amazing hummingbird encounter. [more info]

From Abigail

"I am Abigail Alfano, the woman in the photos. My husband, Sam is the photographer. We live in Pine, Louisiana which is approximately 1 1/2 hours north of New Orleans.This year we had more hummingbirds in our yard than I ever recall. The feeder sits right outside of my window where I drink my morning coffee. I remember watching the birds one morning and telling my husband that I wish I could just hold one! We decided to give it a shot."

"Over the course of several days, I would simply stand beside the feeder so that they would get used to my presence. Then, I began putting my hands around the feeder so that in order to drink they had to land on my fingers. I was amazed at how quickly they were willing to do this.

The next step was to remove the feeder and place a small red cap on an old milk can in the same area. They eventually found the small replacement and began feeding. The morning the photos were taken, I simply went outside and filled the cap with the sugar water, placed it in the palm of my hand, and sat very very still. Within ten minutes, they were resting in my hands, drinking. It was sheer delight for me! I was even able to move my hands around a bit with the birds on my fingers. They are light as a feather...and simply beautiful. I can't wait until next year."

hand feeding hummingbirds
A small plastic cap serves as a feeder.

hand feeding hummingbirds
The hummers were more concerned about arguing over the feeder
than perching on Abigail's fingers.

hand feeding hummingbirds
Two females argue as male approaches from the right.

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