Monday, December 21, 2015

Anna's Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbird in flight - Wikimedia
An Anna's Hummingbird recently visited Springfield, staying for lunch over several days at Mike and Sarah Gugliotta's feeder. They shared this with GOAS* members who turned out to see this uncommon Missouri bird which is a west coast species, listed as a casual migrant in Missouri. It presumably enjoyed its visit and the Missouri hospitality included giving it a new bracelet. Greg Swick posted a nice set of photographs on Facebook that he shared with us.

Anna's Hummingbird** is tiny for a bird but large for a hummer.  It consumes a higher percent of insects in its diet than other hummingbird species.  Its rare appearance in Missouri is usually in late fall, visiting feeders after our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have migrated.  They have even stayed over winter at a heated feeder.

The male's courtship flight is dramatic, climbing 130 feet in the air before swooping to the ground.  The courtship display is accompanied by a loud chirping produced by its tail feathers.  The male can literally change color with a twist of the neck, the head and gorget turning from green to a metallic emerald color in direct sunlight, as seen in this video.

Their original range a hundred years ago was in the evergreen shrubs of coastal California.  Their range has expanded considerably since then, probably due to humans planting gardens and hanging bird feeders.  They are more cold tolerant than other hummingbird species and now are found in British Columbia as well as occasionally in the east.  One factor is their ability to slow their heart rate to 1/15th of its daytime rate which conserves energy and body heat.  Their normal body temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit can drop to 48 degrees, then rise again when the temperature rises.

To catch a hummingbird
Our visitor got a new bracelet by Sarah Driver, a licensed bird bander.  When a banded bird is encountered later, a toll-free call reporting it gives the bander information on the range and age of the bird and the finder receives a certificate.  "The oldest recorded Anna's Hummingbird was at least 8 years, 2 months old, when it was recaptured and re-released during a banding operation in Arizona."

In addition to advancing science, it will give us a chance to see if it returns to the same location (site fidelity).  Jane Nicholas  from Jackson County in eastern Missouri reported an occurrence on Facebook:
"That's so cool! I have a male Rufous at my house for the second winter. He was banded last year and has been confirmed a couple weeks ago to be the same bird. Good luck with your wonderful bird!"
Sarah and Mike Gugliotta release the newly banded Anna's Hummingbird
Consider leaving your feeder up into the fall after the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have migrated.  If you see activity, you may find your own casual migrant Anna's and Rufous Hummingbird in the off season.

* Photographs by Greg Swick of Greater Ozarks Audubon Society (GOAS).
** The name Anna's comes from Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli (1802–1887) the wife of Francois Victor Massena, 2nd Duke of Rivoli. She became the head of the household of the Empress Eugenie.  It was named by Rene Primevere Lesson, a famous French surgeon and naturalist.  In addition to being the first European to see live birds of paradise, he was smart enough to gain political points by naming this bird after Anna!
Birth of hummingbirds video.

1 comment:

  1. Adorably beautiful captures I LOVE hummingbirds. ♥