For the last few weeks, I’ve enjoyed the transiting Allen’s Hummingbirds as they migrate through the area on their way south. I always look forward to their arrival. The males arrive much earlier than the females and this year, we saw very few males. The males typically only visit ~3 to 4 July every year. But this year we saw a shift in the date of arrivals of all migrating hummingbirds, so we presumed they, too, would be late. Unfortunately for us, the only opportune time for a family vacation overlapped the typical male Allens’ arrivals, so regardless of when they did transit, we seemed to miss them. However, the volume of female Allens transiting through this year are helping make up for my disappointment. Interestingly, for the better part of a week, I thought the same female was frequenting our backyard. However later review of my photos revealed it was indeed 2 different females. So who knows just how many female Allens we’ve been witnessing over the last few weeks. Regardless, it has been a joy to watch them and be entertained by them. One female stayed for only ~24-48 hours and ruthlessly chased every single hummingbird away – from BOTH large feeders. Another stationed herself in a tree above one feeder and chased all hummers away from just the one feeder. Another positioned herself under the pergola on the draped lights – again darting after every hungry hummer at that feeder. Through it all, we’re reminded of those striking differences between Allens and the other hummingbirds: the shorter beaks, the constant view of their tongues, and of course their vocalizations. I don’t ever recall Allens migrating through as late as September but, as long as it still means a safe migration for them, I’m thrilled to see the constant flow of new little visitors.
Meanwhile, we’re still enjoying all of the quite young new Black-chinned and Annas arrivals of the season. The feeders and the backyard sage and other flowers are ablaze with little fast-moving wings. There are so many that at dusk it’s like a hummingbird highway – we look out above and around us as we happen upon the back patio at this critical time. We know this stage, too, is temporary – soon our little Black-chinned friends will migrate south, and the Annas will disperse to establish their own territories and we’ll see fewer at the feeders and across the backyard. So for now, I relish this time with them – taking in their beauty, their antics, and just their mere presence that cheers me even on my most stressful day of work. Thank you to all for making our lives so much richer, vibrant, and joyful…..and Godspeed for the migration ahead.
Please remember to phone your nearest wildlife rehabilitator if you find any bird or other animal in distress, injured, or otherwise in need of care. And may you discover and relish the many treasures that nature bestows on you in your own backyards - regardless of season.....