There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Anna's Hummingbird

Calypte anna

Medium-sized hummingbird
Straight, slender bill
Iridescent bronzy green back
Green flanks
Pale grey chest and belly
Dark tail
Red crown and throat
Green crown
Some red spots on throat

Listen to its call.

I've always thought of hummingbirds as being in constant motion. These tiny birds never seem to stop hovering, even when taking a drink from a feeder ... or so I thought.  It wasn't until recently that I've noticed them perched in trees, chirping away. At first I thought this was a way for them to conserve energy in the winter months only. (Imagine the amount of energy require to flap those wings 40 or 50 times per second!) However, I've since read that hummingbirds spend about 85-90% of their time sitting, digesting their food. 

In this picture, the crown and gorget look black. Apparently, when the mood suits it, this bird is able to 'turn on' its red coloring by aiming a beam of light from its iridescent feathers.

Learn more about the Anna's Hummingbird.

Additional photos:

immature female


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