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December 27th, 2012
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Wintering Broad-billed Hummingbird

Hummingbird migration ended here at Fun Birding Towers in Rio Rico at the beginning of October, with the arrival of a few wintering ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRDS and the last of the RUFOUS and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS departing. All bar one, anyway.

Since then, only once or twice a week, a somewhat worn but still very beautiful adult male BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD has come to the two feeders I still have out. A male Anna’s has been holding territory and singing, but a female Anna’s and the male Broad-billed sneak in from time to time when Mr. Anna’s must be busy being handsome rather than aggressive. Both these other hummers must be feeding elsewhere most of the time, but presumably somewhere nearby.

I hope these little guys make it through the winter. The Anna’s shouldn’t have a problem as they’re regular winter visitors (presumably breeding in Jan-Mar). However, Broad-billed Hummingbirds are a genuine summer visitor. Every winter a small population remains in Tucson, where the temperatures stay warm and there is abundant food. But they are scarce away from Tucson or Green Valley in winter and few remain at elevations of 3,500 feet (which is where Fun Birding Towers sits) or higher. They have become more regular in winter in general, and for the past few years one or two have overwintered at feeders in Madera Canyon and Patagonia, both at around 4,000 to 4,500 feet.

It’s a big motivation to keep the feeders filled and keep looking whenever I’m home.

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