Male and Female Anna's Hummingbirds

Male and Female Anna's Hummingbirds

I haven’t been able to get a really clear photo of the hummingbirds that visit my sugar-water feeder. As you know, they are very small birds and land on the feeder for a very short time; then they’re off about their business! And when their wings are beating thousands of times a minute they look like a blur. This is the best photo I’ve taken. It shows a male and female Anna’s Hummingbird drinking sugar-water. As you probably know, the male bird is the dark green color and the female is the tannish grayish green color. The male Anna’s Hummingbird is the only U.S. hummer with a scarlet red crown and throat. The female has a small central patch of red spots on her throat.

I’ve had a few sightings during the past ten years of the Allen’s Hummingbird. The male bird has rufous or rust colored sides, rump, tail, and cheeks with a fiery red throat and a green back.

Each spring I hang a mesh bag of white cotton lint from my dryer on the deck near the bird feeders for the birds to use to build and line their nests. American and Lesser Goldfinches and House Finches peck at the lint. A few days ago an Anna’s Hummingbird drank nectar from the sugar-water feeder and then flew over and pecked at the cotton a few times and flew away with a beak full. Made my day! During the course of a day I usually miss these sightings.

If you’d like to bring hummingbirds to your yard buy a nectar or sugar-water feeder and hang where it can be seen from above. Hummingbird feeders are usually plastic and inexpensive when compared to other bird feeders. The red-colored design of the feeder grabs the attention of the hummingbirds. As you probably know hummingbirds drink nectar from brightly colored, especially red, flowers. They also eat insects.

Mix your own sugar-water hummingbird food using one part sugar to four parts water. Don’t use honey or food coloring. Bring 4 cups water to a boil and then add one cup of sugar and dissolve. Cool before pouring into feeder. Store left-over sugar water for up to a week in the refrigerator. If your feeder is small bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1/2 cup sugar; dissolve.