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Washington State Hummingbirds

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We love our neighborhood Anna’s Hummingbirds here in Edmonds and though we rarely see any other species around here, there are four Hummingbirds you can see in Washington State if you know where to look. Flipping through the Sibley Birds West bird book there are six birds that visit our state but the Costa’s Hummingbird and Broad-tailed Hummingbird are very rare so I will not include those for this post. If we do spot one we’ll certainly add them to a new post in the future! For this post view the gallery to see an Anna’s, a Rufous, a Calliope, and a Black-Chinned Hummingbird.

The Anna’s Hummingbird is the backyard hummingbird of the west coast, they live in one place all year and come to our hummingbird feeders frequently and are often nearby and chatting. I am very used to their distinct sound and often hear them before I see them. My favorite thing about the Anna’s is their fancy looping display which they will show off to other hummingbirds but sometimes to people. I’ve seen it often right at home in my yard as well as at nearby parks, they hover in place near the ground or object of display then move slowly straight up like a helicopter about 50 feet or so then dive down super fast with a loud chirp only to loop back to the same spot they started their display. They’ll repeat this many times from the same spot, I always stop to watch when I see them do this routine. The Anna’s Hummingbird featured in this post is one that hangs out down at the Edmonds Marsh, he has a great little perch and seems to enjoy being photographed.

The Rufous Hummingbird is always on the move. These birds migrate from Southern Mexico all the way up to Alaska, hanging out for a week or two in an area and then moving on. Here in Washington we see them late spring to summer as the come north to breed. While they can be found all over I’ve noticed on eBird they seem to be easier to find near the mountains. The one pictured here in the gallery we found at Lake Easton State Park, there were at least three there on our visit. The Rufous coloring makes them easy to identify. Apparently they are quite aggressive, so if you get one at your backyard feeder you may find they do not treat your local Anna’s Hummingbirds very nicely.

The Calliope and Black-Chinned Hummingbird can both be found in Eastern Washington. On our visit to Walla Walla we were told by locals the Calliope was their backyard hummingbird while the Black-Chinned were a little more rare. Calliope like the Rufous migrate north in the summer generally following the Cascades and then looping back south near the Rockies returning to Mexico for the winter. Calliope Hummingbirds are the smallest bird in the United States! The male has a stunning magenta rays on their throat, the pattern is a little different from the other hummingbirds colorful throats. The Black-Chinned Hummingbird actually has a dark purple band below the throat but you apparently need the light to hit it just right, otherwise they mostly look black (hence the name). They also migrate and are more widespread south of Washington and will also find your backyard feeder. We were lucky to spot both on our visit to Walla Walla – see pictures in the gallery below!

Things to Note:

  • To make hummingbird food just mix some sugar with water – just don’t let it sit out in the sun too long or it will ferment, you don’t need any drunk hummingbirds in your backyard! Read more about feeding hummingbirds here.
  • Check out all our other birding and nature adventures here.
  • Most of these shots were taken with the Sony a7 along with the Sony FE 200-600mm lens.
  • Please check out our resources page to learn more about the equipment we used to find and take these shots!

Backyard Birding?:

  • Want to see more birds? Make your backyard birds happy and get them a new feeder!

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One Comment

  1. Chris Wakefield Nichols Chris Wakefield Nichols

    lovely. Love the story about hearing them first….(me too), and their hovering behavior.

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