When a hummingbird takes off, it often appears to fly straight forward or straight up. We do not see a hummingbird make a big, obvious hop, followed by steady wing beats to gain altitude.
A hummingbird has relatively small leg muscles compared to other birds. A hummingbird does use its legs, but the powerful flight muscles in the chest do the most of the work. Those muscles, plus the hummingbird’s shoulder joints, make some dramatic take-offs possible.
A hummingbird can take off with power – sometimes flying straight forward, sometimes almost straight up. (This doesn’t mean a hummingbird won’t use gravity to start by dropping from a perch … it just doesn’t have to in the way some other birds do.)
And maybe this Anna’s Hummingbird had a strategy – look at the position of the twig in the second shot. It is slightly higher than when the hummingbird was on it.
We have noticed that a hummingbird will sometimes perch on a small twig that springs back as the bird takes off. Maybe a little extra boost on launch?