Ian’s Bird of the Week – Anna’s Hummingbird ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 09-01-10
As promised last week, here is Anna’s Hummingbird, the common Hummingbird of gardens and parks along the West coast of the United States. Many houses, including the one I am in, have hummingbird feeders to attract these delightful birds.
They can be quite inconspicuous, despite the striking colours of the male birds. They alternate between hovering and sudden bursts of very rapid flight which makes them appear and disappear with equal facility. The feathers have, in effect, lots of minute mirrors on them and the bright colour is only visible at exactly the right angle to the light. Otherwise, they look quite dark, dare I say drab, like the male in the first photo hovering at the feeder. The second and third photos, also males, show the claret-coloured head and breast quite well, even though the birds are perched in the shade. Young birds and females are mainly green and grey, though adult females have a small red patch on the throat.
At 12.5cm/4in in length Anna’s is quite large by hummingbird standards. Most of the North American hummingbirds are migrants and spend the winters in Mexico and/or Central America, but Anna’s is an exception and is resident in coastal areas of the western states. They are quite aggressive and males chase other males away from feeders. They also seem quite curious and will check you out by hovering quite closely.
Hummingbirds occur only in the Americas and there are more than 300 species. 27 of these, mostly photographed in Ecuador and Trinidad, are on the website: http://www.birdway.com.au/trochilidae/index.htm .
I went on a successful pelagic boat trip out of Monterey last Sunday, so next week’s bird will feature a wanderer that is also on the Australian list that I haven’t seen before. Sometimes, you have to travel quite far to track down local birds!
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am glad Ian is getting to see the Hummingbirds up close here. Sure he is as thrilled to see them as we would be watching some of those beautiful birds that they have only in Australia. Welcome to America, Ian.
Where we live, there are very few hummers even in the winter. Other area of the state get some, but not this area. The description of the reflection the hummingbird gives when facing the light reminds me of several verses.
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies’ sake. (Psalms 31:16 KJV)
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. (Psalms 119:135 KJV)
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3 KJV)