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Flying Jewels - West Coast Edition

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

Allen's Hummingbird

Selasphorus sasin

If you purchased my 2021 “Talk Birdie to Me” calendar, meet your March bird!

Get ready for an airshow with this shimmering stuntman. He’s ready to show you who’s boss and hopes to snag a female in the process through a spectacular high speed aerobatic flight display. Allen’s Hummingbirds spend their lives in mediterranean and tropical climates ranging from coastal Oregon and California, down to Mexico. Their stunning throat bling, the gorget, a term derived from the Middle Ages as knights wore metallic collars (gorgets) to protect their throats. Allen's Hummingbirds are extremely territorial. Their aggressive behavior can be observed with males, birds of prey and other wildlife species approaching their territory. An Allen's nesting site can vary from high in a tree to low shrubs. Their cup-shaped nests are made from things like pine needles, lichens, spider silk, dandelion fluff, and plants fibers. The nest depth and width are both less than 2 in...just enough space for mom and her two eggs!

The Allen’s Hummingbird has a practically identical twin, the Rufous Hummingbird. They are often mistaken for each other and female/juveniles are nearly impossible to identify upon immediate observation. Besides their limited range and breeding differences, they also have distinctive tail feathers. Identification of these two birds is an age-old conundrum amongst the birding community.

Attracting hummingbirds to your yard is fairly easy with proper feeders and a colorful pollinator garden, including native plants. I’m hoping to attract some flying jewels to my garden again this year with bee balm and columbine plants.

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