Readers’ wildlife photos

August 30, 2022 • 8:00 am

Reader Jim Belcher sent in some lovely photographs of hummingbirds. His captions and narrative are indented, and you can enlarge the photos by clicking on them.

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)  is a native to coastal California.  Although migratory, there is a pocket of non-migratory Allen’s Hummingbirds in southern California.  These birds seem to do well in suburban settings, and they are frequent denizens of flower gardens and coastal suburbia. They are very territorial and will defend their patch of garden or nectar feeder from trespassing hummingbirds.

Allen’s can be difficult to identify conclusively because females and juveniles resemble the closely related Rufous hummingbird that has an overlapping range.  I’m no expert in identifying hummingbirds, but I assume my photos are Allen’s Hummingbirds because they seem to be the dominant population.  Complicating the story, it was recently discovered that the two species interbreed, so who knows?  If I’ve gotten any of the identifications wrong, I’m sure someone will pipe up!

Unfortunately, climate change is predicted to further restrict their range in the coming years.

For most viewers of Allen’s Hummingbirds, they appear as a zooming blur in the garden, or a tiny bird perched high in a tree with a raspy squawk.  My goal in taking these photos was to get as close and detailed as possible of these small birds because they are exceedingly beautiful.

Portrait of a male Allen’s Hummingbird on a feeder:

Another male.

Allen’s Hummingbirds in flight:

Juvenile male on the feeder.

Allen’s Hummingbird covered in pollen.

Female Allen’s on the feeder.

Injured hummingbird on its way to rehab.  Occasionally a bird will be injured or killed by flying into window glass, so lovers of hummingbirds will put UV-visible (to hummingbirds) stickers on windows to warn them away.

11 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Funny piece in yesterday’s Washington Post: Why are hummingbirds such jerks? They certainly are territorial little buggers.

  2. Great photos, Jim. As a denizen of eastern North America, where we only have one hummer, Ruby-throated, I would be happy to have occasional identification problems to enjoy the variety you have out there.

  3. Excellent details of beautiful birds that are hard to shoot. Kudos! And I’ve never seen an Allen’s hummingbird, so thanks for sharing. Those little turquoise spots it has are magnificent.

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