It's March, and - following a winter sojourn in Mexico - thousands of fiery-orange male Rufous Hummingbirds are migrating northward, ahead of the females. Many pass through California on their way to breeding sites in the Northwest. To learn more about how to attract hummingbirds to your yard -- and which might visit -- see Hummingbirds.net.
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Rufous Hummingbirds Are on the Way
Written by Bob Sundstrom
This is BirdNote!
[High-pitched wing-whistle of male Rufous Hummingbird]
As you step out of doors one day in early March, a zinging, high-pitched whistle catches your ear. [High-pitched wing-whistle of male Rufous Hummingbird]
You are hearing the whistling wings of a male Rufous Hummingbird as it streaks through the garden, a sure – and welcome – sign of the advent of spring.
Following a winter sojourn in Mexico, thousands of fiery-orange male Rufous Hummingbirds are migrating northward, ahead of the females. Many pass through California on their way to breeding sites in the Northwest. Naturalist Ralph Hoffman, writing 80 years ago, had this to say about migrating Rufous Hummingbirds:
“An equable state of mind is evidently not necessary to good digestion among Hummingbirds. A blossoming lemon or orange grove in southern California in early spring is not only a banquet hall for migrating Hummingbirds but a battle ground as well. Hardly has a bird poised before a spray of blossoms before another feathered atom dashes toward the first, and the two are off in a tempest of angry squeaks.”
[Rapid, squeaking interaction between Rufous Hummingbirds]
So fill up the hummingbird feeder, watch closely for a tiny winged flame, and listen for a whistle of wings. [High- pitched wing-whistle of male Rufous Hummingbird]
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Call of the Rufous Hummingbird provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller.
Ambient by Kessler Productions
Producer: John Kessler
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org March 2010
ID# 030607RUHU1-2KPLU RUHU-05
Reference cited: Hoffman, Ralph. Birds of the Pacific States. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1927, p. 180.