24 July 2024
Hummingbirds in California: Attract

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Hummingbirds in California: A Delightful Spring Sight

Hummingbirds are a common sight in California during spring, flitting around gardens and sipping nectar from flowers. These tiny birds are a joy to watch, constantly on the move and full of energy. With a total of 16 species of hummingbirds listed in the National Audubon Society’s Guide to North American Birds, California is home to six of these species. From the colorful Anna’s hummingbird to the striking Allen’s hummingbird, each species has unique characteristics that make them easily identifiable.

Spotting and Identifying California’s Hummingbirds

One of the most common hummingbirds in California is the Anna’s hummingbird, known for its iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats. These birds are adaptable and can be found in backyard habitats across the state. Another species, the Allen’s hummingbird, can be spotted year-round, primarily along the coast. With brilliant reddish-orange throats and elaborate courtship displays, they are a sight to behold. The rufous hummingbird, rusty orange in color, migrates through California in the spring and fall on its way to breeding grounds in the Pacific Northwest.

In desert areas, you may come across the black-chinned hummingbird with its shimmering purple stripes or the Costa’s hummingbird with its iridescent purple throat feathers. For the lucky observers, a migrating calliope hummingbird, the smallest bird in the United States, may make an appearance with its magenta throat feathers. Each species brings its own charm and beauty to California’s hummingbird population.

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Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden

To invite hummingbirds into your garden or backyard, planting native plants is key. Native flowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees provide a natural food source for these birds. The National Audubon Society’s Plants for Birds database can help you identify the best native plants for your area by simply entering your ZIP code. In Northern California, species like California figwort and scarlet monkey flower are recommended, while Central Valley residents may consider bladder-pod beeplant and cobwebby thistle.

If you have limited outdoor space, hanging up hummingbird feeders filled with a sugar-water solution can also attract these delightful creatures. It’s important to avoid using food dye in the sugar water, as it can be harmful to the birds. Keeping feeders clean and free from mold is essential to the health of the hummingbirds that visit. Additionally, providing clean drinking water, such as a low bucket with rocks and water, can further support these tiny visitors.

Helping Hummingbirds Thrive: Tips for Observing and Protecting

While observing hummingbirds can be a delightful experience, it’s important to do so responsibly. If you notice nesting behavior in your garden, be cautious not to disturb the birds. Hummingbird nests are incredibly small and easily overlooked, so it’s crucial to give them space and minimize disturbances. Keeping pets, especially cats, indoors can help protect nesting hummingbirds from harm.

By creating a welcoming environment with native plants, clean water sources, and proper feeding stations, you can play a role in supporting California’s hummingbird population. These tiny birds are not only a joy to watch but also serve as important pollinators in the ecosystem. With a little effort and care, you can help these remarkable creatures thrive and continue to grace California’s landscapes with their beauty and energy.

Links to additional Resources:

1. Audubon.org 2. Hummingbirdcentral.com 3. AllaAboutBirds.org

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Hummingbirds, National Audubon Society, Native plants

Hummingbirds are birds native to the Americas and comprise the biological family Trochilidae. With approximately 366 species and 113 genera, they occur from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but most species are found in Central and South America. As of 2024, 21 hummingbird species are listed as endangered or critically...
Read more: Hummingbird

The National Audubon Society (Audubon; ) is an American non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation of birds and their habitats. Located in the United States and incorporated in 1905, Audubon is one of the oldest of such organizations in the world. There are completely independent Audubon Societies in the United...
Read more: Audubon

Native species
In biogeography, a native species is indigenous to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that region is the result of only local natural evolution (though often popularised as "with no human intervention") during history. The term is equivalent to the concept of indigenous or autochthonous species. A...
Read more: Native species

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