The Enchanting Allure of Hummingbirds: A Personal Encounter

The skin of animals holds a certain allure, as each one features a distinct texture that distinguishes it from the rest. One particular example is the feathers of birds, which are absolutely breathtaking and bring to mind images of exotic creatures living in lush, tropical environments.

Since the 1950s, Anna’s hummingbird (scientifically known as Calypte anna) has expanded its breeding range towards the north and east. This particular type of hummingbird is widespread in its habitat and can thrive in suburban areas, gardens, chaparral, and open wooded spaces. Its adaptability allows it to flourish in diverse environments such as streamside groves, coastal sage scrub, city parks, and open oak woodland. Although it is primarily found in lowlands and lower mountain slopes, sightings of Anna’s hummingbird have also been reported in high mountain meadows during late summer.

The hummingbirds that inhabit the Pacific Coast are a tenacious bunch, sticking around all year long even when other types of hummingbirds have flown south for the winter. These birds are quite chatty compared to their peers, and male hummingbirds in particular have a unique and buzzy song they sing while sitting still. They’ve adapted over time to expand their habitat range, which could be thanks to the abundance of flowers and feeders found in city gardens. You might even spot them building nests as far north as British Columbia or as far east as Arizona.

These creatures have a unique preference for flowers when it comes to feeding. They possess excellent hovering skills, allowing them to extend their bills and long tongues deep into the center of the flower to extract nectar. While at feeders, they can either hover or perch. To catch small insects, they have the ability to fly out and snatch them while in midair or hover close to the foliage to pluck them. Raising their young is the female’s responsibility, and she feeds them by inserting her bill deep into their mouths and regurgitating tiny insects mixed with nectar. The young typically take their first flight at around 18-23 days old.

The female bird is responsible for incubating the eggs on her own for a span of 14-19 days until they hatch. Post-hatching, the mother bird feeds her offspring by pushing her beak deep into their mouths and vomiting small insects blended with nectar. The fledglings usually learn to fly between 18-23 days of age and primarily feed on nectar and insects. They can extract nectar from flowers and consume miniature insects. Also, they may rely on sugar-water mixtures available in hummingbird feeders as a source of nutrition.

The breeding season for Anna’s hummingbirds can commence from as early as December. During the courtship phase, the male bird puts on a remarkable display by hovering midair while singing a buzzy tune. Subsequently, he flies higher before making a steep dive towards the female with a loud popping sound at the end. Additionally, the male bird may shuttle back and forth in front of the female. Anna’s hummingbirds typically construct their nests on tree or shrub branches, but they can also be found on wires, vines, or under eaves. The nest is usually found at a height of 4-25 feet above the ground, although it can be higher or lower. The female creates a compact cup-shaped nest using plant fibers, spider webs, and feathers and lines it with soft plant down. Lichens are frequently used to camouflage the exterior.

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