FOS Allen's Hummingbird
- 12 February 2013 (Tuesday) - Just saw my first Selasphorus Hummingbird
of the season, a male Allen's contesting a feeder among the swarms of
I've noticed a big drop in syrup consumption at the feeders, beginning
about 3 weeks ago. At the end of last year, and well into January, we
were going through more than 3 quarts of syrup each day; now it is down
to a quart or so per day. (According to what I've read, 1 qt/d
represents 100 individuals.) Mostly male Anna's with a few females; I
surmise many of the females are now nesting.
It is officially Spring in Albion!
Middle Ridge, Albion
- 24 February 2016 - Looking out over the garden at lunch today we were treated to the sight of a bright orange hummingbird, which turned out to be an orange-rumped male Allen's. I've been looking for one since the beginning of the month (my earliest record here is 29 January) but this is the first Selasphorus I have seen this year.
As others have noticed, the number of Anna's Hummingbirds is way down this year. We have about 1/3 to 1/2 of the usual numbers in our Grevillea hedges.
It is normal for the local numbers to drop in late winter; in previous years when I kept better records, I noticed a drop of about 2/3 in late January. Since both males and females continue to appear in roughly equal numbers, I suspect that the larger share of the population is migratory. According to Stan Harris (1), this bird was historically a rare to uncommon winter visitor to the coast and did not breed here until the mid-1970s, and became a common year-round resident only in the mid-1980s. Sometimes adaptations happen rapidly!
They do nest very early - I have observed females collecting spidersilk in late January. So part of the observed drop in numbers may also be attributed to the females spending most of their time on the nests in February. Watch for a surge in March when the young appear!
(1) "Northwestern California Birds," Stanley W. Harris, 2006. Living Gold Press, PO Box 2, Klamath River CA 96050.