Monday, May 4, 2015

A May Day Gift

With the recent arrival of several avian visitors, I decided that May's stitching theme would fittingly be Bird Based Designs.

And after making that decisions, I was reward with a wonderful May Day surprise. 

After setting out bird food in the morning, I walked back up to the house and noticed this bird perched on my sister's kitchen garden fence.

It was a male Calliope Hummingbird, the smallest long-distance avian migrant in the world!  It is 3.5" long and weighs between 2-3 grams!

The small size is even more amazing given that it winters in southern Mexico and then travels to mountain regions of the western United States to breed in the summer. 

I saw the bird a couple of times on Friday and thought that might be the end of the visit.

The bird though stayed an additional day though,  and was a regular visitor to my kitchen window feeder all day Saturday and into the early evening.

The bird is about the same size as the Anna's Hummingbirds, but it weighs far less.  The back feathers are more of a blue-green than the Anna's.  The most striking difference is the gorget - the throat feathers of the bird are long and streaky.

I did not see the bird at all on Sunday, so I expect he has continued on his journey to the mountains east of here.  I certainly enjoyed his stay, short though it was. 

Here's a male Anna for comparison. The green feathers on the back are more of a green-brown color, and the gorget feathers are shaped like small sequins. It is also 3.5" long, but weighs more - between 3-6 grams. 

The Rufous Hummingbird is about 3" long so is shorter, but is stockier than the Calliope weighing between 2-5 grams.


Margaret said...

Oh that is just so cool! His throat is amazing! You must have been so excited to have him visiting for so long. Love hummingbirds. They must be spreading the word that you are a good place for hummers!

Barb said...

Beth, that is so exciting. I'm glad you got such good photos of that beautiful little bird!

Ann at Beadlework. said...

What an amazing little bird, nature is truly wonderful.

Melissa said...

Those photos are amazing. Thank you Beth!

Maggee said...

Without your guidance, I might have thought that was an Anna... NOW I will notice the difference, should I EVER see any!!

Wanda said...

Oh Beth, what a wonderful treat to see a Calliope hummingbird! You really got some amazing pictures. What's not to love about hummers!