Do you enjoy visits from hummingbirds? As a resident of Arizona, which is home to 18 hummingbird species, I see hummingbirds almost everyday. Every once in a while, I have the opportunity to view a hummingbird up close.
On a recent visit to a Tucson nursery, I had an up close encounter with a black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri). He was perched on a pot filled with a variety of succulent plants
This little bird was sitting just 5 feet from where I was standing and didn’t seem bothered by my presence. In fact, I didn’t see him at first and almost bumped into him as I went to take a close look at the plants in the container.
The most prevalent hummingbird species in Arizona are Anna’s hummingbirds, but right away, I knew that this was not an Anna’s, which tend to be larger. Black-chinned hummingbirds are rather skinny and aren’t particularly colorful. Males have a black-chin with a small strip of purple on their throats.
It was a hot day and his beak was open as he was panting – I could see his little tongue. Hummingbirds do not sweat, so they rely on panting (like dogs do) to dissipate excess heat.
I believe that this small hummingbird was a juvenile male because of his black throat had not completely filled in. Female black-chinned hummingbirds have a white throat.
Black-chinned hummingbirds migrate up into the western United States in the summer from western Mexico where they spend their winters.
When feeding, black-chinned hummingbirds are known to wag their tails. This little one spent a lot of time grooming himself while I stood a few feet away taking pictures. I enjoyed this unexpected opportunity to view this particular hummingbird species up close. He appeared quite tame and didn’t mind my presence. I was so glad that I had my camera with me!
Black-chinned hummingbirds prefer dry climates and are equally at home in the deserts and woodlands of the western United States. For more information on hummingbird species found throughout the west, check out this great article – Attracting Western Hummingbird Species.