Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Hummingbird March Madness

'Our' overwintering Rufous hummingbirds have gone and the first Black-chinned migrants have arrived, males of course.

Bright Rufous(male)on a cold day, February 15, 2014.

Every time we host a green-backed Rufous I wonder if he/she is actually an Allen. The Cornell bird page shows them to be similar. 

You know you're a bird-nerd when you get into the distinguishing marks of a bird weighing less than a penny. 

Rufous? Allen? What do you think? Photo taken January 6, 2014.  

We know why the early birds brave frigid weather.  A man's got to do what a man's got to do and mating is the primary goal of male hummingbirds. The first guys back 'own' the best territory, an advantage when the girls get to town.  

The first spring migrants know their way around our place, bellying up to the bar. They've been here before.  Our porch feeders aren't visible from the air; a bird would have to know where to go to find them. 

Male Black-chinned March 17, 2014.

After 7 years of catering to hummingbirds I'm still amazed that such tiny beings know where to find food and shelter over hundreds of miles of terrain.  

Denny and I get lost on almost every trip we take.

Copyright 2009-2014 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. What fabulous photos of these little darlings! We have the Rufous here, too (WA State) - and Anna's that are green backed also, but I think they are larger than the Allen's. The Black Chinned is wonderful - I have never seen one. I got a laugh out of your last comment. It is amazing how they find their way back! xo Karen

  2. Wonderful pictures. I have my first Ruby-throated male this week, but my overwintering Rufous female is still here and highly agitated at having a stranger invade "her" territory!

  3. Wonderful pictures! So interesting about the first hummingbirds back during Spring migration. It never occurred to me it was for mating purposes. I've seen a green backed Rufous hummer that I thought might actually be an Allen as well. They are pretty amazing little birds:)

  4. Lovely photos dear Kathleen, they are such pretty little birds.
    xoxoxo ♡

  5. I'm glad you and D always find your way back home - we'd sure miss you.

    I rely on your blog to let me know when to put my feeders back out. I don't have year round visitors, but want to be ready for any early birds, and your hummingbirds always seem to arrive first. I also planted additional flowering natives for the hummingbirds but they aren't anywhere near blooming yet, so out with the feeders and on with the show!

  6. Great shots!
    We need to get our feeders back out. I didn't leave them out, this winter.
    Haven't seen any hummers yet.
    Happy First Day of Spring. Hope it stays a while.

  7. you're lucky to get several kinds! we only see ruby-throated here. i just hung my feeder out 2 days ago in hopes they arrive soon.

  8. Nice shots of something that's been rather scarce...I heard one hummer a few weeks ago, but it is dead here. In fact, hardly anything but a few Gambel's Quail and Curve-bill Thrasher...

    So true, get back early to own the best territory for the ladies! Those Rufous are as territorial as humans.

  9. Your photos are stunning! I haven't seen or heard any hummers since last year. Looking forward to welcoming them back.

    I had to giggle that you and Denny get lost every time you go somewhere. Eric and I are the same. In fact, we take "Miss Garmin" with us wherever we go!

  10. Hi Kathleen,
    These wonderful pictures remind me that we still need to put up Hummingbird feeders at our new place in Fredericksburg. Plus that we should really plant some good flowers and shrubs for the Hummingbird - as well as for other kinds of birds. Well, maybe you'll be able to help us with some advice when we (finally) meet. I hope that'll be fairly soon. We'll keep in touch.
    Take care,


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