80-Year-Old Photographer Captures Beauty of Rare Hummingbird That Showed Up in Cali Couple’s Front Yard

80-Year-Old Photographer Captures Beauty of Rare Hummingbird That Showed Up in Cali Couple’s Front Yard

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

Louise Chambers

Louise Chambers

3/20/2024

Updated: 3/20/2024

An 80-year-old bird photographer, who has captured over 600 different types of birds on camera, snapped some especially rare shots when she encountered a non-native iridescent hummingbird in a front yard in Glendora, California.
Lynzie Flynn lives in Playa Vista, Los Angeles. Like many bird enthusiasts in the United States, she has signed up for a rare bird alert from eBird, a project of the ornithology department at Cornell University. In February, Ms. Flynn received an alert that there had been a juvenile broad-billed hummingbird sighting in the front yard of nature lover Kristin Joseph and her husband in nearby Glendora, and she decided to investigate.
“I got out of my car, and I walked over there, and the bird showed up about 10 seconds later,” Ms. Flynn told The Epoch Times. “[The Josephs] have a privacy wall and the rest of their yard behind it, with California native plants, and they also have feeders filled with birds. This hummingbird was in front of the privacy wall, going back and forth between the different plants in a tree.
(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

“Most hummingbirds have a thin, pointy bill. This one is wide, broad ... Also the underneath side of the base of the bill is sort of a rare fuchsia, a light color, and the bird itself is just incredibly beautiful. It’s very iridescent green and blue, but even without the sun hitting it directly, it’s still very, very iridescent.”
The rare broad-billed hummingbird “doesn’t belong in our neighborhood,” said Ms. Flynn, whose birding journey began in March 2020 as an “outlet” during lockdown. The broad-billed hummingbird is more common in Mexico and Arizona, but, despite numerous trips to Arizona with the hummingbird on her wish list, Ms. Flynn had never spotted this species before.
“I started taking photos of it, over and over and over, because you never have enough,” said Ms. Flynn, who returned a couple of days later to take more photos and shared her best shots on Facebook.
Her posts quickly went viral.
A perfectly-timed photo of the hummingbird hovering next to a salvia x jamensis, a plant known colloquially as “hot lips” for its pouty flower, is her favorite.
(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

Glendora resident Ms. Joseph first noticed the little broad-billed hummingbird in her yard because of its different vocalization. She told Daily Bulletin that she and her husband have spent years turning their yard into a haven of native plants for pollinators, but the hummingbird, nicknamed “BB” by local birders, is their most exotic guest to date.
“We’ve gotten so many new, different species of butterflies,” Ms. Joseph said. “We’ve had grasshoppers, which I hadn’t seen in years. I had praying mantises, which I had not ever had, and I have a plethora of birds in my yard all day long.
“It’s just been the nicest group of people. Someone left a whole thing of sugar on my porch to make more hummingbird food. A few people have left gift cards and thank you notes. They have just been so thrilled to see this bird.”
(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

A retiree, Ms. Flynn, has been taking photos “on and off” for almost 60 years. She started out in street photography but has now shifted her focus to birds.
“The nice part about it is, it’s a daily challenge,” she told The Epoch Times. “It’s a constant learning environment because when you see new birds every day, you have to figure out what they are.”
Ms. Flynn lives near the ocean and wetlands, where she first met other birders and became a member of their generous, supportive community.
“Young at heart and young in stamina,” she walks up to 6 miles per day over rock jetties and mountain landscapes, claiming, “whatever it takes to get the bird.”
She is planning a trip to Ecuador in April to see birds that cannot be spotted in California, but BB is not her first non-native bird sighting on home turf. In spring 2023, a snowy owl somehow found its way to Orange County and became a local celebrity after perching on a resident’s roof for around a month.
Ms. Flynn. (Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

Ms. Flynn. (Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

“Snowy owls live in the Siberia area, they live in the northern part of the world and the Arctic Circle, and some of them live in the northern cold states,” Ms. Flynn said. “[E]verybody was rushing to this neighborhood ... TV stations were there, we had people from all over the country flying out to see this bird.”
Ms. Flynn, who uses an Olympus OM-1 mirrorless camera and Adobe Lightroom for post-processing, says it’s a “big deal” to capture photos of birds mating in particular. She also loves to snap birds in flight, birds with food, and birds scavenging for insects and vertebrates on the beach or in mud flats.
To other potential bird lovers, she says, “Pick up a pair of binoculars and go in your backyard or your park. Get a little pamphlet on your local birds and watch them. You will be hooked!”

Check out some more photos below:

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

(Courtesy of Lynzie Flynn)

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Louise Chambers

Louise Chambers

Author

Louise Chambers is a writer, born and raised in London, England. She covers inspiring news and human interest stories.

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