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Archive for August, 2008

A new hummingbird!

Phil spotted the first hummingbird of the season at our Hummingbird Mint. It is different than the Broad-tailed hummingbird Phil photographed last year. Today’s was a bright yellow, with rufous (reddish-brown) underparts and a speckled throat.

My best guess is that it is a female Rufous hummingbird. The Rufous is very hard to tell from the Allen’s hummingbird, but I believe that the Allen’s range is much more limited and does not seem to come even close to Colorado.

Some interesting facts about the Rufous:

  • A territorial hummingbird known to be aggressive with other, larger hummingbirds.
  • It makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any bird in the world, as measured by body size: 3,900 miles from Alaska to Mexico, equivalent to 784,500 body lengths.
  • It has a heart rate of 480 beats per minute when resting, up to 1,260 beats per minute when excited.
  • It feeds on nectar a minimum of sixty times a day, at 13 licks per second, playing an important role in pollinating at least 129 plant species.

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