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.
BACKYARD TIP FOR ATTRACTING HUMMINGBIRDS
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.