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Hummingbirds are no strangers to the Pacific Northwest in the United States, as several species of these birds either spend the warm months there or are year-round residents. Hummingbirds are skilled fliers with wings and hearts that beat incredibly fast. The hummingbirds of this region, typical of most hummingbirds, are a combination of colors, and the males of the species usually have a trademark patch of glistening feathers on their throat.
The Anna's hummingbird is a conspicuous species in the Pacific Northwest, known for behaviors such as singing from perches and for dive-bombing passers-by. The Anna's hummingbird lives from the Baja Peninsula in California up the coastline all the way to southern parts of Alaska, spending its winters in the southern parts of that range but sometimes staying year-round in states like Washington and Oregon. Anna's hummingbird catches bugs and spiders, but also drinks the nectar from the flowers it discovers as well as from feeders put out by homeowners. The male has a head and throat of iridescent red, making it easy to recognize, and both males and females have a bronze-green body above with gray colors below. The Bird Web website states that this species of hummingbird will live in open woodlands and chaparral, with such places as suburban parks a favorite place to frequent.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, the Calliope hummingbird holds the distinction of being the smallest bird north of the Mexican border and the smallest bird in the entire world that makes long migrations. The Calliope hummingbird is only about 3.5 inches long, with a wingspan of 4.5 inches and a weight of 1/10 oz. The species lives in the mountains in states such as Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, breeding there but then spending winters in Mexico. The Calliope hummingbird is green on the upper body and grayish down below; males possess a pinkish throat marking. These kinds of hummingbirds tend to perch and look for food closer to the surface of the ground than other types, and the noises they make are quieter than other hummingbird species emit.
The black-chinned hummingbird is a summer visitor to the Pacific Northwest, living in the mountain forests before returning to warmer climes for the winter. You will often notice this particular hummingbird perching in a dead branch or hovering at a hummingbird feeder, although while undergoing the process of migration, the bird will typically stay in an area for only one day. The black-chinned hummingbird is a mix of green and white, with a black chin on the male that features a purple throat patch; a quick glance and you get the impression the entire head is a black color. This species will breed east of the Cascade Mountains and prefers habitat such as wetlands or the low-lying areas near waterways. The eggs of the female are no larger than coffee beans, and the female, as occurs with most of the hummingbirds, builds the nest and raises the young.
- hummingbird on a branch image by Clarence Alford from Fotolia.com