The Sonoran Desert is home to many species of hummingbirds. The first things I installed in my yard when I moved in were hummingbird feeders. Whenever a hummer would stop for a drink, I’d pull out my bird book to identify it. I’ve had quite a few species stop by over the years. Some were local residents, and some were passing through on their annual migrations. I even had an albino individual who frequented my yard for a couple of years.
Usually, I have no trouble identifying my feathered visitors, since they were all present in my Birds of the Southwest book. I find they often cooperate by sitting on a branch so I can examine them. I’ve been honored to host Black-chinned, Anna’s, Costas, Rufous, Calliope and Lucifer Hummingbirds.
Recently, when a hummer visited my yard, as usual, I went out for a look. However, I didn’t recognize this individual. I looked in the book, but I couldn’t find her. That seems to be a problem with identifying birds – lots of photos of the males, but not enough of the females.
I contacted a friend whose son is an expert on hummingbirds. He thought it looked like a female Blue-throated hummingbird or Blue-throated Mountaingem. Blue-throateds are unusual in Tucson, but they are known to be in the area. Maybe the drought brought her to my yard. She stayed a few days.
Whatever her reasons for visiting, she is welcome anytime.
This hummer posed very nicely for me, but not all hummingbirds are that accommodating. I recommend my humorous tale, How NOT to Photograph a Hummingbird, about a bumbling visitor trying to photograph a hummer. Though the desert seems to conspire against him, it’s more that he doesn’t understand the environment he is in. So, the book also contains a lot of information about the animals, plants and minerals of the Sonoran Desert. Your kids will get a kick out of his ‘accidents.’ If they’d like to learn about the desert in a funny way, pick up a copy for them today.