HIGH DESERT BIRD OF THE MONTH
This smaller hummingbird presents an outsize personality at feeders, often chasing away larger hummingbirds with a combination of feistiness and impressive flight skill. At approximately 3.5”, the rufous hummingbird may possess the most closely perfect ratio of weight to size and outmaneuvers other hummingbirds for access to nectar and flowers. The males’ bright plumage is almost entirely orange, with some green on the back, and their throat patches will appear from red, to orange, to yellow to lime green, depending on the light. Females show orange on their sides and tail, which aids in distinguishing them from Anna’s and Black-chinned. They prefer wooded habitat both for nesting and in winter (in Mexico), but during migration can be found in suburbs, meadows, and scrub. Readily attracted to backyard feeders when nectar is offered during migration; best practice is to have multiple feeders when they are in town to give your other hummingbirds a chance. Rufous hummingbirds also eat a fair share of insects as well, gracefully plucking aphids from foliage and catching flying insects or dangling spiders mid-air.