Sunday, November 11, 2012

Anna's hummingbirds - year round residents.

Here on the Puget Sound, the Anna's hummingbird is a year-round resident. Two of them have been fighting over the feeder and this pineapple salvia today even though it is only 46 degrees outside:

I'm surprised this salvia they are fighting wars over hasn't froze back yet as we did have a freeze two nights in a row, but I do have it in a pot on the deck in a sheltered area between 2 sections of the house. It must stay warmer here creating a micro climate. That's a big plus for the hummingbirds since their favorite flowers are still going strong:

Here's the Anna's hummers. I observed many females in the spring and summer, but very few males. This is one of the females that is frequenting the feeding this November:

Here is the male. I have been seeing him quite a bit since October. I'm not sure if he had moved up into the hills during Spring and Summer and has moved back down now that it is Fall, or if he has been here all along and I am just seeing him more now that I have many flowers he likes and he is spending more time in our yard as a result:

Anna's male hummers have gorgeous pinky red heads, but you can't tell from this angle. It was difficult to get a good shot of this guy's iridescent reddish-pink feathers since there wasn't much sun to reflect off them today. I'll keep stalking him until I get a shot of them shining in the sun.

All these hummers are very busy lately keeping fueled up in the chilly, rainy, Pacific Northwest fall/winter climate. They like to perch in the birch trees and fly down for drinks from the feeder. One of the theories on why these guys do so well in the winter up here is that they include a larger number of insects in their diet along with nectar. They will also eat sap from holes made by sapsuckers and eat the insects that are attracted to this sap.

As recently as the 1930's Anna's hummingbirds range was only into California, but as the climate has changed and as people have planted nectar friendly flowers in their gardens, the range of this hummer has expanded all the way up to Vancouver, British Columbia.

I'm really enjoying having these guys year round. In Austin, we had ruby throated and black-chinned hummers until September when they would vacate for warmer climates. The Rufous hummer would then show up to winter with us from about October to January when they would then take back off to the west coast. We have the Rufous hummers up here in Spring and Summer. I wonder if any of these are the ones wintering in Central Texas?

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