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Thread: Anna's Hummingbird in PA

  1. #1

    Default Anna's Hummingbird in PA

    Pennsylvania has picked up its second new species of western hummingbird in as many years with the banding of a female Anna's this past Sunday. Photos of the bird are up at

    I am interested in comments on Anna's Hummingbird behavior by anyone familiar with the species. It has been spending very little time at the feeder, slipping in for 10-30 seconds before disappearing for an hour or more.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Anna's

    Where I live in on Vancouver Island in BC we get Anna's spending the winter. They are fairly rare in spring and summer, but during the late fall they start to show up in fair numbers, although they are never as numerous as the Rufous Hummingbirds. During spring migration, Rufous can be the most common and abundant birds on some days!
    At any rate, the last few days have been very uncharacteristic for our typically mild climate and we have had a snow on two consecutive days including a dump of six inches that never melted as temperatures hovered between -8 and 0 for three days straight. Needless to say the snow and cold has driven many birds out into the open including several Anna's at our feeder and several more at our friend's next door. The birds seemed to be rather stunned by the cold during the worst of it, occasionally coming to the feeder and just gulping down nectar for up to a minute at a time. The other morning I awoke to find the feeder completely frozen solid, but upon running out the woodshed, I was amazed to see an Anna's feeding from fuschia flowers covered in snow! I thawed out the nectar and later had a chance to keep an eye on one of the birds that was coming to our feeder and it would spend most of it's time roosting on a twig, occasionally coming to feed. Interestingly enough, the Rufous that set up shop with us this summer chose the same spot to watch his main asset (the feeder).
    At one point the 'regular' Anna's even engaged in a brief 'argument' with another Anna's and the two of them chased each other around. On the whole though, they seem much more relaxed and less pugnacious than the Rufous (which might take the cake for most pugnacious bird of all time....I have seen them go after Steller's Jays!) The weather is supposed to warm up soon, so we will see if they have a bit more spring in their step! I know that at least some hummingbirds can go into a torpor to conserve energy on cold nights, but I am frankly quite impressed that such a little bird could survive more than 12 hours without feeding at -8 or colder (it was a crystal clear night). Here is a photo of the bird that hung around our feeder most of the time, as well as a Varied Thrush that was picking berries nearby.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by mark.maftei; November 25th, 2010 at 03:28 AM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default More Observations

    So the Anna's continue to hang around at our feeder, although there is only one here right now. I have been watching it and it is basically resting on a twig and at least every twenty minutes or so it flies to the feeder, flies away somewhere else, and then re-appears on the twig. One thing that I am noticing is that when the bird flies to the feeder it first flies up a few meters away from the perch, hovers for a second or two in the middle of an opening in the brush, and then goes to the feeder. As far as I can remember the Rufous would never do this hover before flying to the feeder. I wonder if this is a way for them to flush out a potential predator before flying into a tricky corner where escape might not be so easy....?

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