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Ah, backyard birding; the only time when being out in the field means your main accessories are binoculars and perhaps a cup of coffee, not sweat-streaked sunscreen and a fine coating of high desert dust over everything.
The most common type of nesting hummingbird in the Albuquerque area, especially the Bosque, is the Black-chinned Hummingbird. They can be identified by their greenish backs and their black chins and throats; and if the sunlight hits the male’s feathers just right, you can see a thin strip of iridescent purple at the lower edge of their black throats. You’ll see them darting erratically from your feeder to catch insects, a staple of most hummingbird diets. They are named for their unmistakable coloration, bright orange on the males and rusty-orange-and-green on the females.
They are the smallest hummingbirds in North America north of Mexico (the smallest in North America and in the world are Bee Hummingbirds), small enough that their mass is about one-third that of the smallest North American warblers. Finally, you may see Broad-tailed Hummingbirds as they migrate through the Albuquerque area. Summertime in New Mexico feels like it isn’t quite real until the hummingbirds appear—these tiny, jewel-bright creatures that grace us with their presence for a few seconds before zooming away.
Boiling this mixture for cleanliness isn’t required, though the water needs to be heated enough to dissolve the sugar. Hang the feeder in an unobstructed area, and watch as your yard fills with beautiful hummingbirds!
Of course, you can also add flying and rooted beauty to your yard by planting a hummingbird garden: a variety of flowering plants that are particularly attractive to these birds. Males have very little purpose during nesting except to spread their sperm as far and wide as possible.
Rufous Hummingbirds, a fairly common species here in Albuquerque, will actually stay in their northwestern nesting territories until they are done breeding, around July 4.
In the next blog post, I’ll talk about how to identify some of the more typical species spotted here in Albuquerque. Right on schedule, around the first of July, Rufous Hummingbirds arrived in Albuquerque.   If you have a feeder in your yard, you know how zealously (and jealously) they guard it. Hummingbirds nest throughout the Americas, but mostly in the tropical and sub-tropical regions.  The Rufous Hummingbird nests further north than any other hummingbird, with some nesting as far north as Alaska. The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our American Independence, but bird lovers in New Mexico also celebrate another event that typically happens right around the beginning of July. Rufous Hummingbirds start to pass through on their fall migration!
The male Rufous Hummingbirds have a bright orange, iridescent gorget  and rufous-red head and back.
Typically the first Rufous Hummingbirds we see are the males, and later in July and in August we see the females and first years. Rufous Hummingbirds breed further north than any other hummingbird, and are seen as far north as Alaska. Like other hummingbirds, they eat insects as well as nectar, taking them from spider webs or catching them in midair. Rufous Hummingbirds are also unusual in that their spring migration follows a route along the Pacific coast while their fall migration goes through the Rocky Mountains and right through Albuquerque. All seems to be at peace in the world of the tiniest of birds, each seemingly willing to share the bounty provided by our feeders.  However, long about the Fourth of July, the little red devil arrives, the Rufous Hummingbird, fascinatingly ferocious!  He has a well-deserved reputation as the feistiest hummingbird in North America. One might wonder just how the little guys are faring since most everything views them as a snack. At any rate, it is important to keep feeders clean and filled until two weeks after your last hummingbird observation of the year and to put them out again in the spring about two weeks before their normal arrival, about April 1 in central New Mexico.  You just never know.
This past October, I found myself in Tucson, Arizona, collecting birds with the avian curator from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, one of the world’s leading experts on captive hummingbird care.
So how did we keep them alive on the nine hour airplane trip from Tucson to Rochester?  We created wooden shipping boxes with six small, individual compartments, one for each bird. There was much reason to celebrate when we touched down at Rochester and raced to the baggage claim where we were greeted with six healthy, chirping hummingbirds.
The opinions and information in this blog are from the bloggers, who are not employees of the Democrat and Chronicle. Hummingbirds can hardly be described without the liberal use of superlatives: the largest flight muscles, the biggest brain, the fastest wingbeat, the most rapid heartbeat, the highest body temperature, the greatest appetite and thirst. Their powerful breast muscle is proportionally four times larger than that of a chicken, and their metabolism is 10 times faster than that of a human sprinter.

The Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna ) has a long bill, iridescent dark red crown and throat (male); white-tipped tail (female). Below is  the note about hummingbirds inserted in the box of notecards I got last Christmas (see the picture below). Now that you have your hummingbird feeder up, you love to watch all the hectic, jewel-bright buzzing around it! Only trouble is, you have no idea which birds you’re seeing.
Females are less-excitingly colored, with a green back and grey chest, belly, and darker-spotted throat. And, while they don’t have the flashiest coloration, the males do perform impressive dives of up to one hundred feet to display during courtship and territorial defense. These birds, mostly the males, show up around July 4 after they have finished breeding in their northwestern nesting territories, sometimes as far north as southeastern Alaska, the northernmost of any hummingbird’s breeding range.
They are also the smallest long-distance migratory birds, as they spend their winters in Mexico and the summer breeding season in the northwestern United States up into southwestern Canada.
Their backs are shiny green, with off-white undersides; males have a bright pink throat and females have a dark-spotted throat.
One very neat adaptation to these chilly places is their ability to go into a torpor—yes, that’s a technical term—on cold nights, which means it slows down its metabolism and keeps its body temperature at about 54°F when the ambient temperature falls below 44°F. If you have further questions, feel free to leave a comment below or submit it in the Ask an Expert section.
There are many ways you can be hospitable to these birds and encourage them to frequent your yard all summer!
The Hummingbird Society has a list of eighteen suggested plants that will not only provide nectar but also perches and, in the case of Desert Willow and larger plants, shelter and nest-building sites.
In it she includes a large ball of spider silk, which serves to keep the eggs and later the chicks snug and secure inside the nest, stretching as they grow. After that, the males migrate down here to breed with more females—again, these birds are on a serious mission!
Rufous  also are unusual in that they have a different migration path in spring (along the Pacific Coast) than in winter (through the Central Rocky Mountain region, including through New Mexico.)  They winter over in Mexico.
The males are free to migrate home first, because they contribute very little to the process of raising babies; in fact they are just sperm donors. In fact I saw a beautiful male Rufous Hummingbird in early June of this year in Halibut Cove, Alaska.
Did you know that you actually can distinguish the different hummingbirds by calls?  Surveys here produce not single entries, but 2-3 birds at a time, often locked in combat or issuing battle cries of tiny warriors as they zoom past your head at warp speed. Perhaps your feeder will be the one that sustains a little throughout the long New Mexico winter. They are among the smallest of birds, and include the smallest extant bird species, the Bee Hummingbirds. They concluded that their subjects produced 75% of their weight support during the down stroke and 25% during the upstroke.
Together we collected six hummingbirds to bring back to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden at the National Museum of Play-five Anna’s Hummingbirds and one Broadbill Hummingbird. They share the same environmental and food requirements as our butterflies, and the size of our garden allows guests the perfect opportunity to get an up-close glimpse into the lives of these elusive, and mysterious little birds.
Hummingbirds need to eat every few minutes; if withheld from food for as little as 30 minutes, they will begin to starve. The walls of each were lined with fabric to protect delicate wings, and a specially designed spill-proof feeder was installed to ensure food would be at the ready.
After a month quarantined individually in small enclosures in our green hosue, where we ensured their good health, we released them into the garden where they are doing very well.
European explorers were astounded by the tiny glittering creatures that zipped up and down, backwards and sideways, with wings humming and blurred. The Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) prefers dry scrub, woodlands near streams, wooded canyons, mountain meadows and gardens.
As the birds move south toward Mexico (mainly in July and August) they may be found as high in the mountains as 13,200 feet.
Small raptors like American kestrel, Merlins, Sharp-shinned hawk, and jays capture hummingbirds when they rest on a tree branch with their eyes shut.
Remember, these birds are three and a half inches long on average, so that’s the equivalent of them traveling over three hundred body lengths in one dive.

They are also rather famously aggressive, gladly taking on other hummingbirds even twice their weight.
Males can be identified by their green upperparts, white underparts, and red-streaked throat. The females can look like a female Rufous, but you can tell them apart by the much more orange-tinted sides on a Rufous. I mentioned in the previous post that female hummingbirds will include spider silk in their nests to make it more secure for the chicks;  for cold-climate birds such as these, lining the nest with silk also serves to insulate it and substantially decrease the required energy output of the incubating female. Most importantly, don’t add anything else, especially not red dyes, because these can be harmful to the hummers’ sensitive bodies.
This is the nesting season for many birds, including hummers, and as such it is especially important to provide them a little extra help in these months.
They guard the feeders tenaciously against other, often larger hummingbirds that need a little drink.
Look for them in spring in California, summer in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and fall in the Rocky Mountains as they make their annual circuit of the West. They can hover in mid-air by rapidly flapping their wings 12–90 times per second (depending on the species). Many earlier studies had assumed (implicitly or explicitly) that lift was generated equally during the two phases of the wing beat cycle, as is the case of insects of a similar size.
We then added small, battery-powered LED lights to each compartment so that the birds could easily find and feed from the feeders. Now Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden is filled with tiny birds darting from perch to perch, stopping briefly to taste a flower or sip from a feeder.
Beside from the beautiful packaging and the intricate handwork of the card designs, on the bottom of the stack was a little note about the legend of the hummingbirds. If you hear fighting around your feeder after Independence Day, chances are it’s a rufous male defending his territory!
In the animal kingdom, only insects have a higher metabolic rate than hummingbirds in flight. This finding shows that hummingbirds' hovering is similar to, but distinct from, that of hovering insects such as the hawk moths. To make things even more difficult, hummingbirds need to be housed individually for transportation and they will not feed in dark areas such as the cargo hold of an airplane. The black-chinned hummingbird is widespread as a breeding species in the Western United States.
Yet at times Rufous Hummingbirds appear to breed in colonies, with some pairs nesting only a few feet from one another. Tanagers have been seen catching and eating hummingbirds and small owls can find sleeping hummingbirds at night. In a blur of iridescent greens, purples, or reds, a hummingbird can speed by in forward flight, then brake in midair to probe its needle-like beak into a flower for a sip of nectar. After the nesting season, most members of this species migrate south into Mexico, although some individuals spend the winter months along the Gulf Coast and in Florida. The similar-looking Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin), which occurs along the West Coast from Oregon south, has a green back and cap. Hummers get sometimes caught in spider webs as they collect bits of webbings to glue their nesting material together. Papyrus began in 1950 by Margarit and Marcel Schurman with their love of art and the vision of delivering the finest paper products with their customers in mind. Its wings beating so fast that they resemble gossamer, the bird will back out of the flower and sidle over to the next blossom.
The wings of these adroit little birds rotate rapidly at the shoulder, tilting to force air forward and down on the downstroke, but also backward and down on what should be the upstroke. Both male and female rufous hummingbirds give rather a mechanical-sounding "cbp, cbp, cbp" while they're feeding or when another bird enters their territory.

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