The Hummingbirds of Alberta

The Hummingbirds of Alberta

Alberta is in the Canadian sweet spot for hummingbird species, with three regularly occurring species. Rarer species often show up at feeders through the year, so it pays to keep your eyes open.

Ruby-throated, Calliope, and Rufous Hummingbirds are the common species in Alberta. Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Costa’s Hummingbirds have also been documented in the province with a few records of confirmed sightings.

Hummingbirds start arriving in Alberta around the beginning to middle of May (depending on where you live), so put your feeders up at the beginning of the month. One of the largest bird-feeding myths surrounding the feeding of hummingbirds is that leaving a feeder out too late in the season will delay their migration. This is just not true. The urge to migrate far outweighs a feeder full of sugar water. But leaving feeders up in the fall and getting them up early in spring may help early or late migrants passing through the area.

Take, for example, this wayward Costa’s Hummingbird that showed up in Sherwood Park last October and was seen at the same feeder for over a month and a half. Costa’s Hummingbirds rarely make it outside of Arizona and southern California, so it was very odd to have one show up in Alberta.

The Costa's Hummingbird that showed up at a feeder in Sherwood Park last fall. Photograph by Janice Hurlburt, used with permission.

The Costa’s Hummingbird that showed up at a feeder in Sherwood Park last fall. Photograph by Janice Hurlburt, used with permission.

Many people get excited to have a hummingbird visit their feeders, so here are some tips for attracting and keeping hummingbirds in your yard, as well as the “recipe” for sugar water.

Below, I’ve listed the three most common hummingbird species found in Alberta:

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been documented in all regions of the province except the Canadian Shield, and have the largest breeding range of any North American hummingbird. Adult males are metallic green on the upperparts, iridescent ruby red on the throat, white on the underparts, and green along the sides. Adult females look similar to males but with a finely streaked throat, greyish belly, and buff along the sides of the belly. Immature males look similar to females but with red streaks down the throat.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are long-distance migrants, flying non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico to southern Mexico and Central America to spend the winter.


A male Ruby-throated Hummingbird at one of my feeders


Left, a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeding on petunias. Right, a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird at one of my feeders.

Calliope Hummingbirds are the smallest birds in North America, often misidentified as large bees. Calliope Hummingbirds frequent the foothills, mountains, and the Peace River area in Alberta. Calliopes can be identified by their overall small size, green upper parts and pink streaks on the male’s throat that form a V-shaped gorget. Females have dull white throat, a buff chest, and belly.

While Calliopes might be small, they are extremely territorial and can chase away birds as big as Red-tailed Hawks from their breeding territory. The hummingbird gets its name from Calliope, the muse of eloquence and epic poetry in ancient Greek mythology.


A male Calliope Hummingbird. Photograph by Daniel Arndt, used with permission.


A male Calliope Hummingbird. Photograph by Daniel Arndt, used with permission.

Rufous Hummingbirds are known for being very feisty and extremely territorial. Look for them in the Rocky Mountains, foothills, and the boreal forest. In bright lighting, male Rufous Hummingbirds are bright orange on the back and belly, with an iridescent red throat. Females are green with rufous flanks, rufous on the base of the rounded tail, and a few orange spots on the throat.

Rufous Hummingbirds have the longest migration of any hummingbird species, travelling more than 3,500 miles from their breeding grounds to their Mexico wintering grounds. They travel north up the Pacific Coast in spring and return by the Rocky Mountains in the late summer and fall.


A male Rufous Hummingbird. Photograph by Daniel Arndt, used with permission.


A male Rufous Hummingbird. Photograph by Daniel Arndt, used with permission.

I’d like to thank Janice Hurlburt and Daniel Arndt for letting me use their hummingbird photos. You can find more of Daniel’s great hummingbird photographs on his Flickr page.

I’ll leave you with a few facts about hummingbirds:

— Hummingbirds are native species of the New World and are not found outside of the Western Hemisphere. A majority of the species are found in South America.

— A group of hummingbirds has many collective nouns, including a bouquet, glittering, hover, tune, and shimmer of hummingbirds.

— A hummingbird’s bright throat colour (gorget) is not caused by feather pigmentation, but by iridescence in the arrangement of the feathers and the influence of light level and moisture.

— An average hummingbird’s heart rate is more than 1,200 beats per minute.

— A hummingbird’s maximum forward flight speed is 48 km, or 30 miles, per hour, though the birds can reach up to 96 km, or 60 miles, per hour in a dive.


A male Rufous Hummingbird. Photograph by Daniel Arndt, used with permission.

Baillie Birdathon 2014 Results

This past Thursday, May 29th was my “green” Baillie Birdathon which was not only the wettest but also possibly my best Birdathon so far. I decided that I’d do a “green” birdathon because I wanted to focus more on the birds around our area and also I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint even by just a little bit, since I live in an area where vehicles are essential for every day life.

In the very wet rainy morning, at around 7:40 am, I started walking to the slough across from our house where I was able to find many species of waterbirds, including Black Terns, Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue-winged Teals, American Avocets, a Sora, and American Coots. However, the large flocks of shorebirds that I had seen days before were nowhere to be seen. From where I was standing, I could hear Baltimore Orioles, Yellow Warblers, and House Wrens singing in the trees that grow along the slough on the south side. By this point, the rain was coming down quite heavily making it very difficult for me to use my camera and binoculars, so I wasn’t able able to take many photos at the beginning of my day.

I walked over to the woods where I added Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Ruffed Grouse, Red-eyed Vireo, Least Flycatcher, Song Sparrow, and White-throated Sparrow, just to name a few. As I was walking further into the woods, I was very excited to find three Magnolia Warblers and two American Redstarts (Alberta firsts for me!) along with a very secretive Common Yellowthroat making its “wichty-witchy” song, Clay-colored Sparrows, a Swainson’s Thrush, Alder Flycatchers, Black-billed Magpies, and European Starlings. When I came out of the woods I set up my scope again to look at the slough, and saw two Ring-necked Ducks feeding in the reeds with a pair of Northern Pintails, Ruddy Ducks, Redheads, and Green-winged Teals. After scanning through all the ducks, I moved my attention to another spot that shorebirds favor — all I could see were American Avocets, and then, as I was about to put the lens cap on my scope, a Black-bellied Plover (first of season) came into view. So far, the first hour of my Birdathon, though very wet, was very productive!

An immature male American Redstart,


After the slough I headed for home — I needed dry clothes and a hot breakfast. I sat in our window seat and tallied Barn Swallow, Bank Swallow, American Goldfinch, Savannah Sparrow, House Sparrow, Sprague’s Pipit, Wilson’s Snipe, Western Meadowlark, and a Common Raven all while eating breakfast.

Indian Lake (west of our house) was the next stop on my list, and there I spotted very co-operative Le Conte’s Sparrows, a dozen Eared Grebes, and two dozen Common Goldeneyes with the males displaying. I also heard another Common Yellowthroat, but this time I was able to see the Common Yellowthroat quite clearly.

One of the Le Conte’s Sparrows,


From the lake I walked to what we call our One Hundred Acre Wood, although it’s actually only 18 acres. The woods were alive with Baltimore Orioles, Least Flycatchers, two White-breasted Nuthatches, Yellow Warblers, House Wrens, Eastern Kingbirds, a single Yellow-rumped Warbler, and mosquitoes. As I was looking at an American Redstart, I heard a bird that sounded different from the others. I was trying to find out where the singing was coming from, and although the bird was singing in the tree above me, I couldn’t see it. My binoculars weren’t helping either — they were fogging up and the lenses were smeared from the rain. I could hear that the bird sounded like a vireo, but it didn’t sound quite right for a Warbling or Red-eyed Vireo. Finally, after trying to locate the bird for 10 minutes, I could see through my binoculars the bold white spectacles and blue-gray head of my lifer, Blue-headed Vireo! After seeing the Blue-headed Vireo I thought my day couldn’t get any better, but shortly afterwards first of season Blackpoll Warbler and Philadelphia Vireo added to my excitement.

My lifer Blue-headed Vireo,


Our woods,


I left the woods and started walking over to our farmyard where I picked up Rock Pigeons, Red-tailed Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Vesper Sparrows. At our farmyard, I checked on our two-day old chicks and turkeys, and fed the dog and laying hens. After I fed everyone, I continued searching for more birds. I walked past our shelterbelt trees, but didn’t find anything new. I continued on, hoping to find Canvasbacks on our neighbor’s slough and Chipping Sparrows in the spruce trees. As I was nearing the slough, I heard Chipping Sparrows “trilling” in the trees, but then saw two birds gleaning insects from the spruce tree — they were Western Kingbirds. Western Kingbirds are a common sight to see in southern Alberta, but not so much in my area. I watched the kingbirds for a while then scoped out the slough, finding a Red-necked Grebe, Canvasbacks, and a Pied-billed Grebe.

One of the two Western Kingbirds,



A female Brown-headed Cowbird,


The last slough I visited is the one just North of our house, in a neighbor’s pasture. On the slough, I found a male and female Cinnamon Teal and a pair of Horned Grebes.

Horned Grebes,


I finished my Birdathon at home with my last two species, a Cliff Swallow and a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at our feeders. Altogether my Birdathon was terrific and I tallied 82 species.

So far I’ve raised $785 of my $1,000 goal for the Birdathon, with half of the funds earmarked for the Edmonton Nature Club. Thank you to everyone who has supported my Birdathon this year, I greatly appreciate all of the encouragement. If you would like to help me reach the rest of my goal, you can visit my team page. Your support will be greatly appreciated, not just by me but by both of the groups receiving my funds — Bird Studies Canada and the Edmonton Nature Club. Thank you and happy birding.

A list of all the species I saw on my Birdathon:

Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, Eared Grebe, Red-necked Grebe, Canada Goose, American Widgeon, Mallard, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Bufflehead, Common Goldeneye, Ruddy Duck, Swainson’s Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Ruffed Grouse, Sora, American Coot, Black-belled Plover, Killdeer, American Avocet, Willet, Short-billed Dowitcher, Franklin’s Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Black Tern, Rock Pigeon, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Alder Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Blue-headed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Bank Swallow, Barn Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, Swainson’s Thrush, American Robin, Sprague’s Pipit, Tennessee Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Chipping Sparrow, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Baltimore Oriole, American Goldfinch, and House Sparrow.

Male American Goldfinch,


A Cliff Swallow on a power line in our yard,


Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird,


Tree Swallow,



Welcome Back Hummers!

The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds should start arriving in our area any time now, so it’s time to start thinking about getting the feeders out and filling them up.

The most widespread species of hummingbird in Alberta is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which can be found in most of the province. Then there are the Rufous, Calliope, and Anna’s Hummingbirds which are found in southern Alberta, for example around Calgary and Canmore.

Once a hummingbirds has found a feeder, it will stay extremely loyal to that feeding site. In fact, hummingbirds will return to your house year after year if you keep your feeders filled with fresh nectar.

Here is the very easy and simple recipe for hummingbird nectar:

:: 4 parts water
:: 1 parts white table sugar

Mix the water with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved completely. You can boil the nectar if you like but it’s not necessary, though it dissolves the sugar much faster. If you do boil the nectar, let it cool before filling the feederThe nectar can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator if you make extra.

Don’t substitute for honey, Splenda, any artificial sweetener, or corn syrup for regular white table sugar. Don’t use red dye either, even food coloring, because it might harm the birds. Instead, buy a feeder with lots of red on it or tie a red bow or ribbon to the feeder which you can remove the ribbon once the hummingbirds find the feeder.

If the feeder is in the shade, change the nectar every five days; if it’s in direct sun, change it every two days. If the nectar looks cloudy or if you see black spots on the inside of the feeder, it’s time to change the nectar.


It’s a good idea to clean your feeder before you refill it every time, washing it with dish soap and water and rinse well. I like to thoroughly disinfect my feeders at least once a month with a solution of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. Soak your feeder in this solution for up to one hour, and then clean with a toothbrush. Rinse with water and refill the feeder. The key to successful hummingbird attraction is clean feeder and fresh nectar. If you see hummingbirds flying around your feeders but not feeding, it’s a sign that the feeder maybe empty or that the nectar has gone bad. A clean hummingbird feeder is essential!

A good time to hang up your hummingbird feeders in Alberta is at the beginning of May and don’t be in a hurry to take them down in fall. Some people think that leaving feeders up in the fall means that the hummingbirds won’t migrate or will delay migrating. This is false. You can leave your hummingbird feeder up past Labour Day or even longer if you like.

If keeping a feeder seems like like too much work, consider planting some flowers. While hummingbirds are attracted to red, orange, and pink flowers, they like any flowers rich in nectar. Hummingbirds seem to prefer honeysuckle, columbines, hibiscus, salvia, lupines, verbena, trumpet vine, bee balm, Maltese cross, agastache, and fuchsias.

Also, consider planting native flowers, shrubs, and trees. If you live in Alberta, here are some native plants that hummingbirds will enjoy: Fireweed, Bracted Honeysuckle, Red Osier DogwoodJewelweed, Snowberry, Meadow Blazingstar, Red Paintbrush, Slender Blue Beardtongue, Wild Bergamot, and Wood Lily. Here is a wonderful list from the Canadian Wildlife Federation on native plants that will attract hummingbirds in Canada. 



Back from the YOW, Part 1

Wow! I don’t know exactly where to start, so I guess I’ll start at the beginning. I had an amazing experience at the YOW (Doug Tarry Young Ornithologists’ Workshop) at Long Point, Ontario. I have so much to write about that I’m going to post about my adventures at Long Point in two (maybe more) parts.

Aug. 3rd: I arrived a day early for the YOW to make sure I was at Long Point in time the program to start on the 4th. I flew on my own from Edmonton, Alberta, to Hamilton, Ontario, a nonstop direct flight on WestJet.  Stuart Mackenzie, LPBO Program Coordinator, picked me up at the airport and drove me to Old Cut.

When I arrived LPBO, I met Ana, LPBO assistant co-ordinator, and Matt, an LPBO intern. This year’s YOW program was run by Stu, Ana, Matt, and Jody, biologist and science educator. It was great being at Old Cut, because you could walk around the area and watch birds, which was perfect.

An Eastern Wood-Pewee,

Aug. 4th: The other YOWs arrived around lunchtime — four boys and two other girls. Saskia is from British Columbia, Katie from Ontario, Justin from Ontario, Cody from Ontario, Antoine from Quebec, and Eitan from Pennsylvania (he is Canadian-American). In the afternoon, Matt and Ana showed us how to put up and take down mist nets, used to catch the birds for banding. In the evening we went on a mock census walk to familiarize ourselves with the route. Ana and Matt go on census every morning starting around 7am for an hour.

Aug. 5th: We woke up at 5:45, ate breakfast, then opened the 14 nets at 6 am. That morning was the first day of watching banding for the YOWs, we didn’t band anything but it was still very neat to watch Ana and Matt banding. Most of the birds we caught were hatch-year Gray Catbirds, and many of them were re-traps. Three of the species we caught in the nets were life birds for me, American Redstart, Carolina Wren, and Black-and-White Warblers.

A Carolina Wren,


In the afternoon we had a trip planned, but Matt, Ana, and Liza (from the Birds Studies Canada office) wouldn’t tell us where we were going. We drove about 10 minutes north of Old Cut to Pterophylla farm run by Mary Gartshore. When we arrived, I saw two hummingbird feeders, with about 20 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds flying around. First, Mary told us a little about what she does at her farm, then she showed us her Australian Shepherd  puppies which were very cute.

Saskia with one of Mary’s puppies,

While we were with the puppies, David Okines, an Ontario hummingbird bander and president of the Ontario Bird Banding Association, was catching the hummingbirds with a net placed over the feeders; he could raise or lower the net with some string that he was able to control from the back door of his car. None of us had any idea that we were going to have the chance to band hummingbirds, and for all of us this was the first bird we have ever banded. The bands for hummingbirds are so small. I think we all had a fear a losing a band and two did get lost. I found it quite hard to band hummingbirds because they are so small and their legs are so short. All of us were very excited to band hummingbirds and we couldn’t thank Mr. Okines enough for the opportunity.

Hummingbird bands come on a sheet of aluminum which have to be cut out, shaped, and filed,

Weighing the hummingbird (the bird is put in a little tube to immobilize it), as you can see it  weighed 1.7 grams,

If you put hummingbirds on their backs, they don’t move,

Aug. 6th: There was more banding today, with the highlights being Mourning Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, American Robin, and Rose-breasted  Grosbeak. I wasn’t present for all the banding because Katie, Saskia, Stu, and I went on the hour-long census walk. We were able to count 30 species on the census route.

In the afternoon we prepared for our boat trip to the Tip of Long Point, we were all very excited about it! The boat ride, with a small motorboat took about two hours, and on the the way we stopped at some sandbars to look at the gulls, terns, Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, and Sanderlings. The Tip is one of the most beautiful places I have been to. Although there were people walking along the beaches, our group were the only people inland. Once we had brought all of our supplies to the house, Stu told us to get ready for a scavenger hunt.

He split us up into two teams, and we each had quite a few things we had to collect: sand from both beaches, evidence of a reptile, driftwood, photo of a Monarch, milkweed pod, a piece of the lighthouse, a Fowler’s Toad, and a few more objects. My team did quite well, we found all but two objects. One of the objects we didn’t find, but the other team found a small Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, a turtle that is threatened provincially and nationally. The turtle they found was quite small but they can grow to be very large.

Katie and the turtle,

Aug. 7th: Our Tip census started at 7:15. We saw Great Blue Heron, Green Herons, Traill’s Flycatcher, Red-breasted Mergansers, Field Sparrows, Chipping Sparrows, Barn Swallows, Yellow Warblers,  Cedar Waxwings, Ring-billed Gulls, just to name a few.

From 10:30 to 1:00 Ana showed us how to conduct a Breeding Bird Survey, though of course there aren’t any breeding birds at this time of year. Most of the birds we had already seen on census, but we did see a Red Fox and a Sharp-shinned Hawk being chased by a Eastern Kingbird. From 1:00 to 4:30 we went swimming and played monkey in the middle in beautiful Lake Erie, which was lots of fun! At 5:30 we started our Monarch butterfly survey, the goal being to count as many Monarchs on our census route, and we also were to count other butterflies we saw on the route. We counted 91 Monarchs, three Painted Ladies, one Orange Sulphur, four Cabbage Whites, one Northern Crescent, and one Red Admiral. While looking for butterflies, Saskia found a Fowler’s Toad, an other threatened species.

Painted Lady,

Stay tuned for part two! I hope to get it up as soon possible.

Feathers on Friday

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting lately. I’ve been helping my dad and brothers with the haying and also getting ready for the local agricultural fair at the end of the month. I’m making displays of pressed flowers and grasses to enter in the exhibit hall.
A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on a Maltese Cross In our front yard,

My Hummingbird Essay

This is one of essays I wrote for the Doug Tarry Young Ornithologists’ Workshop. The original essay topic was to write about your favorite bird, but I couldn’t choose just one bird, so I chose a bird family instead. I couldn’t include photographs with my application, but I’ve added some below, from the past few years, to this post.

“My Favourite Bird”

I don’t think I have just one favourite bird, but my favourite bird species at the moment is hummingbirds, Trochilidae, because of their beautiful plumage colours, their physical stamina and size, and the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to appreciate them close up, since they seem to tolerate humans nearby more than other birds, especially when they are drawn by flowers in the garden and hummingbird feeders. Every year when the hummingbirds return to our yard, I am reminded that I enjoy watching them more than almost any other bird, and how very different they are from most of the other birds I’ve seen. I’ve also been lucky to see hummingbirds not just in Western Canada, but also in the West Indies visiting my grandparents.

Alberta has so many brightly colourful birds — such as the American Goldfinch, Mountain Bluebird, Purple Finch — that it could be hard for a hummingbird to stand out. But whereas some birds are brightly coloured, the hummingbird’s coloration is a bit more subtle with a metallic sheen which can become quite eye-catching as the sun hits the feathers. In addition to the iridescence, many male hummingbirds have beautifully coloured head and gorget feathers: in the the case of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), a bright metallic red throat patch; the Broad-Billed Hummingbird with its red bill, and dazzling blue throated males; and Costa’s and Lucifer Hummingbirds with iridescent violet or purple crowns and gorgets. I hope one day to find a hummingbird feather to study under our microscope. I have read that a group of hummingbirds is called “a glittering of hummingbirds” and given the metallic sheen of their plumage, it seems a very good description.

Each spring I anxiously wait for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to arrive at our farm at the end of their long migration. Having traveled far, often through harsh conditions, the small birds’ ability to navigate such a long trip is remarkable. Just from the Yucatan Peninsula to Edmonton is a distance of more than 6,000 kilometres. And each year, as I learn more about birds, I find the journey and the perils the birds survive more, and not, less amazing. Living in eastern Alberta, I am lucky to be within the western limit of the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds’ summer breeding range. And I very much appreciate that this bird family is found only in the Americas. We are so lucky to be able to enjoy their presence in the summer.

We usually have two pairs of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds who return annually. They like to sit, and possibly nest, in a spruce tree just north of our house, a few feet away from our dining room window. I hope that this year I’ll be able to find a nest and watch the nestlings grow and fledge. They also spend time at the feeder on the deck, near chairs, where they sometimes fight with each other, and also in the flower garden, where they like the nectar from the Maltese cross, columbines, lilies, nasturtiums, and catmint, and don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that we are gardening nearby (well, my mother keeps gardening while I stop quietly to watch).  It is amazing to see the birds stop short exactly in front of a feeder or flower, hover as long as they need, or fly backwards. I especially enjoy the males’ dramatic and dizzying aerial displays.

In 2010 when my family was on the West Indian island of Nevis, visiting my grandmother, I was able to see many new species of birds, including three new species of hummingbirds — Antillean crested Hummingbird (Orthorhynhus cristatus), Green throated Carib (Eulampis holosericeus), and Purple throated Carib (Eulampis jugulars). I had several unexpected and exciting encounters with Antillean crested Hummingbirds, the smallest bird species on the island. One day, I had to rescue a hummingbird stuck in the garage ridge vent, almost 20 feet off the ground. With the help of a ladder, I was able to get the hummingbird and me safely to the ground. Sitting on the grass, I let it rest for a while on my open hand — which gave me the chance to study its beautiful feathers and delicate features — and after a few minutes it flew to a nearby red ixora shrub to rest some more.  Another time, I was waiting in our car for my parents to return from shopping, and passed the time watching a bullfinch singing on a branch. Suddenly, and just as my parents returned, a female Antillean crested Hummingbird flew by and sat on her nest. I had never seen an actual hummingbird nest before, so we asked the home owner if we could go in his garden for a better look and some pictures. There weren’t any eggs yet in the nest, and we never had a chance to go back, but it was still thrilling.

These are just some of the reasons the hummingbird is my favourite bird species is the hummingbirds. In the future, I would like to read and study more about hummingbird hybridization, between closely related species and species in different genera, and see for myself the different combinations — just one more reason they are such a fascinating species.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird at our feeder two days ago,


Antillean-crested Hummingbird, Nevis, West Indies, 2010, rescued after being trapped in the garage,


Purple-throated Carib, Nevis, West Indies, 2010,


Female Antillean-crested Hummingbird on nest, Nevis, West Indies, 2010

Hummingbird nest with a very small egg, 2010 (sorry this is so fuzzy, I was still getting used to the camera and taking birding pictures),