Anna's Hummingbird

Calypte anna

photo © wiki/User:Mdf

This male was photographed in Patagonia, Arizona and is on Wikimedia User:Mdf.

Photo © by Mike Plagens

There were three female Anna's trying to monopolize a single fruit on this saguaro at North Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona.

Anna's hummingbirds are now the most commonly seen hummingbird in gardens and at backyard feeders in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. Prior to the 1960's they were mostly a temporary resident during the winter months - the remainder of the year their permanent home was coastal Southern California. The popularity of feeders no doubt has played a role in this population shift.

Hummingbirds, like all animals, require a balanced diet including proteins and lipids, beyond the carbohydrate sugar of nectar or feeders. This they get my catching vast umbers of very small flying insects. One place to see them doing this is adjacent to over the irrigation canals that cross-cross the Phoenix metro area. Here they find an abundance of non-biting midges, mayflies and caddisflies that have merged from the water.

Keeping an array of native plants in the garden also helps hummingbirds because there's an array of small insects associated with them that the hummingbirds will fly-catch. Two native plants in my yard, Desert Broom and New Mexico Thistle offer downy seeds that female hummingbirds pluck out and use to line their nests. These materials help the eggs and nestling stay warm and dry.

Photo © by Mike Plagens

Adult female observed in Phoenix, Arizona, February 2009. Notice that there are a few flecks of iridescent feathers on the chin.

Year-round Resident

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 18 March 2003,
updated 8 Jan. 2017.