Late Summer and Early Fall Hummingbirds

Wow! My hummingbird feeders have been working overtime for a week and a half now. Yesterday evening my wife and I estimated approximately 50 hummingbirds swarming the 5 visible feeders on our back porch. This morning we saw the same thing. It was hovering room only. There is no doubt that we are experiencing the peak of hummingbird activity which means we will soon begin to see numbers of hummingbirds dwindling with each day that passes. As the days grow shorter hummingbirds will instinctively feel the urge to go. For now, though, we are thoroughly enjoying the action. And I am paying very close attention in case a different kind of hummingbird appears. Recently, a friend of mine in the western most part of Bellevue had a confirmed Rufous hummingbird at her feeders.

Rufous Hummingbird

The Rufous is a summer resident of the west coast, mainly from central California all the way up into northwest Canada. Like the Ruby-throated hummingbird they migrate back to Central America and Mexico and along the Gulf coast to Florida for the winter. However, each year small numbers of Rufous hummers appear in southern states including TN. Late August and September are the months they tend to appear, or at least be seen. Some Rufous hummers have been known to stay in mid TN most of a winter.

The adult male Rufous is quite distinguishable with its rufous (reddish brown) back, flank, rump and tail. The head and crown are even darker brown to red, a red face, and bright red gorget and white breast. Pic of Male and Female Rufous

Male Rufous

Female Rufous

Adult females have a green back and crown with hints of rufous on the flanks. A central grouping of red spots may be visible on the white throat. Juvenile males and females will look very much like the adult female with the exception of the red spots. A lone juvenile Rufous would be difficult to notice amongst a group of Ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Rufous hummers are reportedly even more aggressive about guarding a food source than Ruby- throats, if you can imagine that.

The video was taken on my back porch this morning. Most of you do not get to see multiple hummingbirds on a feeder at the same time. In more rural areas it is quite common to see. Continue to keep your feeders clean and nectar fresh. You might be the next one to see a Rufous hummingbird.