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Pacific Flyway Stand-out Species: Calliope Hummingbird

Pacific Flyway:
Calliope Hummingbird

Central Flyway:
Whooping Crane

Mississippi Flyway:
Stay tuned!

Atlantic Flyway:
Wood Thrush

BirdNote is sharing special birds from each of the four North American flyways during the month of December.

Last week, we brought you the tallest bird in North America, the Whooping Crane of the Central Flyway. This week, we are highlighting the smallest bird north of the U.S.-Mexico border, the Calliope Hummingbird! This species occurs entirely within the Pacific Flyway, breeding as far north as British Columbia and migrating south to winter in Mexico.

Calliope Hummingbird © oldbilluk

Central Flyway Stand-out Species: Calliope Hummingbird

Put a penny in your hand, just a single penny. That's how much a Calliope Hummingbird weighs: two and a half grams!

Now, consider that this species migrates up to 5,500 miles - more than double the distance between Los Angeles and New York - every year. Such epic migrations require energy reserves usually found in much larger species. In fact, the Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest "long-distance migrant" in the world.

Further cementing its status as a "stand-out" species in the Pacific Flyway, the Calliope breeds in mountainous habitats, up to three thousand feet above sea level. These cooler temperatures can be difficult for smaller animals, but Calliope Hummingbirds ingest a lot of nectar - up to several times their body weight every day - to keep their metabolism, and their body temperature, high.

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