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Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

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Banding Hummingbirds

Dan Harville has banded more than 11,000 hummingbirds! He affixes a tiny aluminum ring bearing a unique number around the lower part of the bird's left leg. That number will provide vital information to any bander who recaptures it. From the work of the banders, we know that a Rufous Hummingbird,... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

Hummingbird Migration Myths

Does a hummingbird migrate by hitching a ride on the back of a goose? Not exactly. This Rufous Hummingbird may travel as much as 8,000 miles, as it makes its full migration loop. And a hummingbird can fly backward, forward, hover in one spot, or even flip upside-down momentarily. Learn more... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Why a Gorget Glitters

A hummingbird's brilliant throat feathers are called a "gorget," a term applied in past centuries to the metallic swatch protecting the throat of a knight-in-armor. Light waves reflect and refract off the throat feathers, creating color in the manner of sun glinting off a film of oil on water.... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage

Migration - Long, Short, and In-Between

In September, this Arctic Tern flies from Alaska all the way to Antarctica. Rufous Hummingbirds follow pathways of mountain wildflowers, from as far north as Alaska south to Mexico. Ruby-crowned Kinglets, migrate altitudinally from the mountains to the lowlands. Each of these birds migrates, but... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Nisqually, National Jewel

Mt. Rainier's majestic, snow-capped crown is the pre-eminent landmark of Rainier National Park. Its glaciers and snowmelt nourish rich natural habitats, including the Nisqually Delta, far downstream. This meeting of waters is a lush expanse of marsh, tidelands, and tree-lined streams. The... read more »

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Hummingbird - Mighty Puffball

What bird can fly straight up and down, backward and forward, and even upside down? A hummingbird can do all this, and fly up to 75 miles an hour. And most amazing of all? This bird can slow from 25 miles an hour to a dead stop in a space no longer than your index finger!Learn more about this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  flight

Thirsty Rufous Hummingbird

Hummingbirds need to consume five times their body weight each day. This Rufous Hummingbird of the West is looking for flowering plants to quench that mighty thirst on its spring migration. A feeder would work, too. Put a hummingbird feeder up in your yard, and see who turns up! read more »

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Rufous Hummingbirds Are on the Way

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 --... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Rufous Hummingbirds' Marvelous Nest

The nest-building skills of the female Rufous Hummingbird are amazing. She first weaves a cup of soft, fluffy plant material, then envelops it with moss and binds it with strands of spider web. The final touch: a layer of lichen flakes to provide perfect camouflage. A favorite nest site is the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Hummingbirds See Red

Red flowers, and of course red feeders, are often rich sources of food for hummingbirds, including this Broad-tailed Hummingbird. Nectar is high-octane fuel for their intensely active way of life. The hummingbirds' sense of color is due to the dense concentration of cones in its retina. But it... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  science

A Natural Feast for Hummingbirds

Hoping to attract hummingbirds to your yard or balcony? One way is to grow native plants. Native plants provide cover, and they offer nectar in spring and summer. They also attract insects, the most important part of a hummingbird’s diet. Just add a source of water for drinking and bathing, and... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary

Thirsty Hummingbirds

Here they come! Rufous Hummingbirds, Black-chins, Broad-bills, Ruby-throats like this one, and others are migrating north after a hot, dry winter in sunny Mexico or Central America. And they’re ready for a drink. You can help these thirsty birds by hanging a hummingbird feeder filled with the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdfeeding

A Rufous in the Rain

In a garden near the McKenzie River in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, a downpour pummels the landscape. Imagine a Rufous Hummingbird, like this male, out and about, extracting nectar, searching for gnats and aphids. A hummingbird's stamina against the heavy rain is marvelous. Consider this: its body... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Rufous Hummingbirds Head South

Right now in the Northwest, male Rufous Hummingbirds are heading south. By late July, they will pour into southeastern Arizona on their way to wintering areas in Mexico. The females and their offspring will leave later in the summer, some lingering until mid-September. Along the way, they will... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  citizen science, migration

How Humans Affect Competition Among Birds

Evolutionary time is long — the earliest ancestors of birds emerged around 50 million years ago. Against that yardstick, the length of time humans have been living in cities is a blip. But that blip has resulted in huge changes for urban birds, crows in particular, as John Marzluff explores in... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Hummingbirds, By a Hair

In April 1778, the explorer James Cook and his crew spent most of the month at anchor in Nootka Sound, off present-day British Columbia. The native people were eager to trade with the Englishmen. According to the British ornithologist Thomas Pennant, Rufous Hummingbirds were among the commodities... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  history
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