Attracting Hummingbirds: Western Species

Did you know that of North America’s 20 hummingbird species, most are unique to the West? Learn about attracting hummingbirds from the west with these tips.

Did you know that of North America’s 20 hummingbird species, most are unique to the West? If you’re familiar mostly with the ruby-throat, which is seen only in the East, you’ll want to learn more about these fascinating little fliers:

A familiar year-round sight from California up to Washington state, Anna’s hummingbirds visit backyard gardens, parks, streams and open woodlands. Males sport a beautiful iridescent pink crown and throat.

Throughout much of summer and migration season, this species’ range covers several states. Look for the male’s signature black chin and gorgeous iridescent purple throat. These hummingbirds are known to hover at feeders and dart out to grab small insects.

Found in mountain meadows in the Northwest, calliope hummingbirds—the smallest birds in North America—travel long distances during migration. A red-and-white-streaked throat (sometimes the red verges on magenta) is common in males.

Rufous hummingbirds have the largest range and are the most likely to veer east. You’ll know it’s a rufous if you see its back completely covered with coppery orange feathers.

It’s not uncommon to see a few of these as far east as Louisiana in winter, but most buff-bellieds stick to the southern tip of Texas. Look for their bright cinnamon tail.

To attract hummingbirds, regardless of your location, plant nectar-rich flowers and fill feeders with sugar water—a mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.

  1. Judy Wilson says

    I live in southeast PA and every year I have many ruby throat hummingbirds at my 4 feeders. I’m sad to say I have only seen 1 or 2 hummingbirds and maybe only once a week. Is there a reason for the few number? Was it because of the hard winter?

  2. lakshmi says

    well. I have ruby throated hummers visiting me almost every evening in my garden. i live in San Jose, CA

  3. Evie says

    I have numerous hummers here in middle Arkansas all summer and even now in Sept. although the number have lessened. I have a question: why does my sugar water turn cloudy at times? I have followed the same directions for years, but at times like the las two refills the water has turned cloudy in a matter of a couple of days.

  4. Tootie says

    I have seen a ruby throat female building a nest on top of last years nest. She has it all finished and had been sitting in it for a couple of days. Now I haven’t seen her in the nest at all for the last 5 days. There are 2 or 3 hummers at the feeder which is only about 10 – 12 feet from the next. Did she abandon the nest? I can’t see if there are any eggs in it.

  5. Barbara Paine says

    You are forgetting about Allen’s Hummingbirds (look like Rufous but with a green back), Costas Hummingbirds (gorgeous purple “helmet”) and Broad Tailed Hummingbirds, all common to Southern California


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