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Rufous Hummingbird (Male) - Selasphorus rufus | by Lisa Lovingtree
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Rufous Hummingbird (Male) - Selasphorus rufus

These pugnacious little hummingbirds show up around mid-July here in Douglas County, Colorado. We are alerted to their arrival each summer by their loud wing whistles, and dare-devil bomb-diving antics at the feeders.


By the time the Rufous hummers arrive in our neighborhood -- about mid-July -- the more common Broad-tailed Hummers have been with us for at least a month. At first the Broad-taileds are somewhat intimidated, allowing these interlopers to drive them off. However they soon tire of being bullied and begin to "fight back".


Watching these wonderful winged jewels duke it out is great entertainment! We keep a half-dozen extra-large feeders filled all summer long, and after more than 20 years, word seems to have gotten around: our feeders are swamped from dawn to dusk with four kinds of hummingbirds and their offspring, all summer long.


Rufous hummers are absolutely gorgeous: adult male has reddish brown back, sometimes with speckles or patches of green. The crown is green, gorget iridescent coppery-gold, orange-red (which is something to see, shining in the sun!)


The Rufous's yearly migration takes them from Mexico north through the United States (west of the Rockies) then up to Canada and Alaska...and back -- an astounding distance! It breeds as far north as Alaska and winters in Central America, a distance of 2700 miles (equivalent to 49,000,000 body lengths!)


Common in forests, woodland edges, & thickets. Breeds in lowlands and mountains. Found mainly in mountains in spring. Rare on Gulf coast in fall and winter. Wing whistle and calls are similar to Allen's Hummingbird.

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Taken on July 28, 2010