Dennis Allen – Rufous Hummingbird on a plum tree branch with buds. (Photo was taken in my backyard. I caught him as he was looking at the hummingbird feeder waiting his turn. I like the unusual pose. Photo was taken with a Panasonic DMC-FZ200 camera.)

A male Rufous Hummingbird caught my eye, sucking at the feeder near my cabin. Being common, yet elusive, in this protected area of Alaska—the breeding grounds for his species before the long flight to Mexico, I was grateful to have spied him.

“Drink up, little one,” I said, beaming with joy and protectiveness. “Glad you could come to visit me here in Valdez today. Get your fill!”


I heard the shot crack and watched disbelievingly as the BB pellet hit my precious friend, halting the sound of his brilliantly flapping cinnamon-colored wings. My horrified screams now filling that void.