A Winter Hummer Returns

Each year in winter, when the cold, gray days seem to outnumber the sunny days, I start looking for the return of a little visitor. Who is this visitor?  His name is ‘Jose’ and he is a Costa’s hummingbird.

In winter, he returns to his favorite perch high up in the leafless almond tree, which is located in my mother’s back garden.

Costa's hummingbird in almond treeCan you see him?

He appears every year about this time and hangs around until summer.  You may be wondering how we know it is the same hummingbird.  Well, there is no way to tell for sure.  But each winter, he appears perched up in the same tree each time and hangs around the back garden for months.

He spends his time feeding upon the blooming orange jubilee shrubs, the filled hummingbird feeder and also perches in the lemon tree.

Costa's hummingbird in tree

We don’t see a lot of Costa’s in our neighborhood in the winter, when they usually spend their time in Mexico.   They tend to visit us more often during the warmer season. However, in winter, there are quite a few Anna’s hummingbirds that continue to feed upon the few blooming shrubs and if they are lucky, a filled hummingbird feeder.

Costa's hummingbird

Jose’s favorite perch allows him a wide view of the small farms that surround him.  He keeps watch over the resident chickens and dogs.

The sight of Jose every winter, makes me think of spring, even though the thermometer says otherwise.

My hope for this new year is that I will be able to view some of the different hummingbird species that pass through Central Arizona on their way to the northern states; maybe a Rufous or an Allen’s?

How about you?  What types of hummingbirds do you hope to see this year?

For help identifying your tiny visitors, visit the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory website which lists photos and characteristics for many of the hummingbird species that are seen in the Southwest.

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