Every spring, usually in April, we begin seeing Rufous Humingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) at the feeders. Not only does this 3 3/4″ hummingbird make the longest known avian migration (measured by body length), it reaches the northernmost latitude of any hummingbird (61° N1 near Anchorage Alaska). Now that’s extreme.
The male with his bright orange-red gorget, makes a striking pose (click on photos for full sized images). He also aggressively protects his nectar supply by chasing off most other intruders.
This video I shot at my hummingbird feeders shows several Anna’s Hummingbirds feeding as a Rufous Hummingbird comes screaming in at the 13 second mark, clearing all other birds away. He repeatedly chases a much larger Anna’s male away (with the bright red head), then, finally, near the end of the video, allows two female hummingbirds to feed for a few moments, then chases them away too.
Many times as the hummingbirds come into the feeder, they will pause for an instant before choosing a spot to perch. That’s when I caught this guy in this straight on pose.
This is the much more demure and less aggressive female Rufous Hummingbird. The dark blotches under her chin glow orange-red in the sunlight as well.
I don’t know if she is nesting here or just passing through, but I will keep my eye out for her at the feeders. If I see her for any length of time, I will assume she is nesting here, even though the maps show Rufous Hummingbird’s southern most breeding range extending only into the north-western-most corner of California.
As a bit of California liquid sunshine falls, I leave you with another view of this male’s gorgeous gorget displayed for all to see.
If you want to see more super bird photos from around the world, you have to check out World Bird Wednesday, hosted by Springman over at Pine River Review!
References: 1Birds of North America Online