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Bird of the Week: Rufous Hummingbird

Okanogan Country | 05/31/2019 | Blog, Methow Valley, The Great Outdoors, Wildlife Viewing

"The Rufous Hummingbird is one of three hummingbirds that breed in Okanogan County. The other two are the Calliope and the Black-Chinned (occasional reports of Anna's come up but they are primarily a west-side breeder). Hummingbirds don't sing like our other birds, but if you listen closely you'll notice that the sound of their flight, and especially of the display acrobatics the males make, are all distinctive between the three species. 

Rufous males often make a noise that sounds like a toy jet shooting artillery! Rufous describes the reddish-brown or rust color that almost completely covers the male hummingbird. The female has a green back but her sides and tail are rufous (see photo below). 

These feisty little birds fly here from Mexico and they have excellent memories so that they return looking for feeders or flowers in the exact spot they found them the previous year. So, keep your sugar water clean and fresh for them!"

Mary Kiesau | Local Naturalist and Photographer

Fun Facts

Information from the Seattle Audubon Society 

  • Rufous hummingbirds are highly territorial and will protect their feeding territories even during migration.
  • Rufous hummingbirds don't sing, but they do make warning 'chips' in response to threats, and their wings make a whining sound similar to that of a cicada.
  • In Washington State, they feed heavily on honeysuckle, red flowering currant, salmonberry, and on sugar water found in hummingbird feeders.
  • Females incubate 2 eggs for about 15-17 days, and the female will care for the young herself until they become independent around 21 days.
  • One can find Rufous hummingbirds in and around Okanogan County from March to September, and in the North Cascades from May to August.

To learn more about the Rufous hummingbird, Visit the Seattle Audubon Society

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