Three main types of hummingbird may be spotted at your feeder, says Okanagan birdwatcher - InfoNews

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Three main types of hummingbird may be spotted at your feeder, says Okanagan birdwatcher

Rufous hummingbird
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
May 24, 2020 - 8:30 AM

Spring is here and Okanagan hummingbirds are buzzing at man-made feeders.

If you see the hummingbirds squabbling at the feeder however, it’s because male hummingbirds are territorial, said Chris Charlesworth, birdwatcher and owner of Avocet Tours.

“The birds come back in the spring and the males are really territorial until the young come out of the nest,” he said. “The males disappear from the valley bottom quite early in the season. They tend to go to higher elevations where there are more flowers.”

By late July, Okanagan residents will mostly see female hummingbirds and young ones, he said.

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Once the young hatch from the nests and the territorial males move on, he expects more people will see them at their feeders.

The most territorial hummingbird he’s seen in the Okanagan is the rufous hummingbird, one of three main types of hummingbirds that residents will likely spot at feeders.

The rufous can reach between seven to nine centimetres in length, and have bright orange colouring on the back and belly mixed with green, according to All About Birds.

The calliope hummingbird is smaller and can be pushed around a bit by the rufous, he said. Calliope can reach eight to nine cm in length, but weigh less than a rufous. The feature of a calliope is the magenta colour on the males' throat.

Calliope hummingbird
Calliope hummingbird
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

The other regular hummingbird is called the black-chinned hummingbird which can stand up to the rufous. It reaches about nine cm in length and its colour is mainly a dull metallic green, according to All About Birds.

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“The rufous are really quite common in the valley,” Charlesworth said.

Black-chinned hummingbird
Black-chinned hummingbird
Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons

Cindy Procter won't even hazard a guess as to how many hummingbirds visit her North Okanagan yard on a daily basis.

Judging from her home videos it's not hard to see why, as dozens of hummingbirds zip about and drink from her feeders.

"They come back year after year to the same spot... (and) for 20 years they've been coming here to my yard," Procter said. "They are creatures of habit."

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