Anna’s Hummingbird in Autumn

This last summer was the first time I ever put out a hummingbird feeder. The feeder is just to my left, outside my office window. It has been really awesome to have hummingbirds buzzing around my backyard and to observe them at close range.

Anna’s Hummingbird was the only species I noted. The young male in the photo above has taken up residence it seems. He sits on his perch, as he is in the photo, and looks back and forth while making his scratchy little calls. The perch is about 20 feet away from the feeder.

He vigorously defends the feeder when other hummers get close. He rockets straight at the interloper and chases them off.

Most of the hummingbird species that spend their summers in North America make amazingly long migrations down to Mexico, Central America, or South America, where they spend the winter.

Anna’s Hummingbird is an exception. On the west coast this species is a year-round resident. Flower nectar is scarce in autumn and winter here in the Pacific Northwest, so our hummingbirds can benefit from feeders.

Small insects are also an important component of their diet and they eat tree sap, which is sometimes made available by sapsuckers.

I plan on keeping my hummingbird feeder up this winter. I might need to put a heat lamp on it when the weather gets really cold, to keep the sugar-water from freezing. It will be interesting to see if this young male sticks around and if any other hummingbirds make use of the feeder.

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