Spring hummingbirds


This is the tine of year when four species of hummingbirds can occur simultaneously in my garden. Anna’s are of course year-round residents here and have been breeding since February. Rufous hummers have been passing through steadily since early March and are currently represented by one to three individuals, both male and female, every day. Black-chinned Hummingbirds have returned from their wintering grounds in Mexico a bit later than usual but are now quite numerous and the females have begun building nests. Mating is in full swing, so-to-speak, as the males engage in their characteristic buzzy shuttle display in front of skeptical females who often escape before the males can progress to their courtship power dives. And last and least, Calliopes pass through at unpredictable intervals. 

Today, all four species were present. Numerous Anna’s, even more numerous Black-chinned,  at least 2 male and one female Rufous, and late this afternoon another male Calliope Hummingbird that was feeding on the many flowering salvias. As I reported, I saw another Calliope at an unusually early date at the beginning of April. It is likely that others pass under the radar in my large garden. A few days ago I saw what I am almost sure was a female Calliope but she disappeared before I had a chance to confirm.

In other news, so far only three pairs of Hooded Orioles have returned to my garden and begun building nests, the lowest number in many years. Warbler migration is still fairly thin along the creek. Orange-crowned, Wilson’s, Nashville, and Hermit represented by only a few individuals. None of my five nest boxes have so far been occupied by Wood Ducks, although there are a good number of Wood Ducks on the creek most days. House Wrens who had an exceptionally good breeding season last year are almost entirely absent. I have noticed one singing male along the creek in a traditional spot, but there are so far no nests in any of my many nest boxes. Tree Swallows and Western Bluebirds, on the other hand, are well represented and have occupied the majority of the nest boxes.  

Manfred Kusch
South bank of Putah Creek
3 miles W of Davis