One of the sweet joys of nature? Hummingbirds!
I consider myself especially lucky to live in an area where we have year-around hummingbirds even though I don’t live in a tropical climate. In fact, I live in the rainy Pacific Northwest!
One of my very favorite hummingbirds is the one that visits our Pacific Northwest gardens year-around: the Anna’s hummingbird. As an amateur naturalist, I’ve enjoyed learning about the habits of this amazing bird. As an artist, I love painting this hummingbird because no one can deny its stunning beauty and magical appeal.
I’ve gotten hooked big time as I can’t stop painting them!
Thought it might be fun to share some interesting things about the Anna’s hummingbird.
Where did the Anna's Hummingbird get its name?
In case you’ve ever wondered where this hummingbird got its name… The Anna’s hummingbird was named for Anna Masséna, Duchess of Rivoli. She served as the Grand-Maitresse in the court of Empress Eugénie in France in the 1800’s. When the French surgeon and naturalist René Primevère Lesson met her, he decided to name this beautiful hummingbird after her in 1829.
Has the Anna's Hummingbird always lived in the Pacific Northwest?
While the Anna’s hummingbird is a common visitor in the Pacific Northwest nowadays, Northern California was as far north as it would nest a hundred years ago. It was reported in Oregon around the 1940’s and in the northern part of Washington state by the 1960’s.
Its range has gradually been moving farther north. The Anna’s hummingbird was voted as Official City Bird of Vancouver B.C. in 2017 and is now regularly found in southeastern Alaska, making the Anna’s the hummingbird with the northernmost year-around range of any hummingbird.
Scientists believe the Anna’s hummingbird can survive the colder climate up north with the help of hummingbird feeders as well as gardens with flowering plants in urban and suburban areas. It’s also believed that it eats more insects than any of the other hummingbirds in North America.
Can the Anna's Hummingbird sing?
While hummingbirds are not known for their vocal qualities, the male Anna’s hummingbird actually sings, especially during courtship! Okay, their high pitched, somewhat squeaky song might not be as beautiful and melodic as those of song birds but once you hear it, it certainly catches your attention. Often, I hear a hummingbird before I can locate the tiny bird with my eyes!
During courtship, male Anna’s also perform an acrobatic aerial display to impress females, flying very high into the air before diving back down at dizzying speeds, making a loud popping sound with their tail feathers.
If you see a hummingbird in winter in Portland or Seattle, you can bet that it’s an Anna’s hummingbird as the Rufous hummingbird, which is also common in the Pacific Northwest, migrates to sunnier, warmer places during the cold months.
I hope you enjoyed reading these tidbits about the Anna’s hummingbird. Have you spotted an Anna’s hummingbird before?
I'd love to hear from you if you have a story or an experience to share about an encounter with an Anna’s hummingbird.
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Thanks for reading!