Bird Photography by Kay Ekwall

Kay's Feathered Friends

Allen's Hummingbird

Allen's Hummingbird

Extremely similar in appearance to the widespread Rufous Hummingbird, the Allen's Hummingbird breeds only along a narrow strip of coastal California and southern Oregon

I have a feeder out on my back porch and also the wire basket that is for holding tomato plants up in the summer. They love to land and stay on the wire basket, I had taken it down and then they seemed to be looking for it and I missed them, so I put it back in the tomato tub for good and I can watch them and the dragonflies too, sometimes at the same time. They stay much longer on it then they do on the feeder, which they seem to fight over, chasing each other off. these photos are taken through my sliding glass doors, so have a little bit of reflections on them and maybe not as clear as they could be, but it works for me. I use my Soni camera and put it on the motion or low lighting modes for best results.

This is a very tiny bird, with mostly rusty plumage. The male has iridescent red throat with a shiny green back.

Male Description

Gorget (throat) iridescent scarlet. Gorget with elongated feathers projecting slightly to the sides. Top of head and back dull metallic bronze or bronze-green. Sides of face, sides of chest, and flanks plain cinnamon-rufous. Tail feathers pointed, and colored orange with dark tips. Outermost tail feather very narrow. Wings dusky. Chest white. Belly and undertail coverts buffy. White spot behind black eye. Legs and feet dusky. Occasional individuals have orange in rump.

Female Description

Chin, throat, and chest dull white. Center of throat with variably sized patch of red feathers. Sides and flanks cinnamon-rufous. Back metallic bronze-green, head slightly duller. Wings dusky. Outermost three pairs of tail feathers orange at bases, black in the middle, and white on the tips. Middle pair of tail feathers bronze-green, dusky at tips, with orange edges to green base. Next pair out with rufous base, then bronze-green, and black tips. Undertail coverts pale cinnamon.

Immature Description

Immature similar to adult female, but has less spotting on throat and less rufous on flanks; male more rusty in the base of the tail.

Cool Facts

  • Breeding male and female Allen's Hummingbirds have different habitat preferences. The male sets up a territory overseeing open areas of coastal scrub vegetation or riparian shrubs, where he often perches conspicuously on exposed leafless branches. The female selects nest sites in more densely vegetated areas and forests.
  • Two subspecies of Allen's Hummingbirds are recognized. They differ only slightly in appearance, but sedentarius of very southern California is nonmigratory, and the more northerly breeding, slightly smaller sasin spends the winter in Mexico.
  • The Allen's Hummingbird is remarkably early migrant compared with most North American birds. Northbound birds may depart on spring migration as early as December and arrive on the summer breeding grounds as early as January. Adult males may begin their southward fall migration in mid-May and arrive on winter grounds as early as August.

The Origins of Hummingbirds Are Still a Major Mystery


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Slideshows of some of our feathered friends

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Canadian Geese

Great Blue Heron

Great White Egret

Sea Gulls

Photographs by Kay Ekwall and JP Ekwall

Josephine County, Southern Oregon


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