Facts and Information
The Rufous Hummingbird is beautiful, extremely fast, and although quite small, they are aggressive feeders, almost attacking feeders and flowers. Their flight is a darting spurt, with the ability to literally turn on the head of a pin. They are extremely territorial, doggedly chasing away all other hummingbirds, even larger sizes.
They will feed ravenously at backyard nectar feeders (I sometimes have to refill my feeder twice a day!) and also include various insects in their diet, taking them from spider webs or in mid-air flight.
These hummers have nearly straight bills, and short wings that do not reach the tip of the tail when the bird is perched. The male is a bright orange that is almost iridescent in sunlight. Females have green backs and are reddish-orange underneath, and sometimes have an orange throat spot.
They migrate to Mexico for the winter, passing through areas as high as 12,000 feet. They spend much of the year on the move, rarely staying in any one place for more than a couple of weeks. To make good hummingbird nectar, mix 1/4 cup sugar per cup of water until sugar is completely dissolved. Food coloring is unnecessary, so don't pay attention to the bright red liquid sold in stores as hummingbird food. Regular table sugar is the best choice. Change the nectar regular, and don't let it get cloudy or discolored. Hot weather makes sugar water ferment rapidly and produces toxic alcohol, so be sure to keep an eye on the condition of your feeder.
Jump over to any of the other San Juan Island bird pages: Belted Kingfisher, Common Raven, Coopers Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Double Crested Cormorant, Pileated Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-winged Blackbird, American Bald Eagle, Sea Hawk, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Great Horned Owl, Wild Turkey, Trumpeter Swan.
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