March 14, 2011

Allen's hummingbird - the private life

Like the tiny Ruby-throated hummingbird I am flying thousands of miles. Unlike the hummingbird I am traveling on a 737 airplane, my journey will take six hours, and I will be served peanuts and ginger ale along the way. The purpose of my west-to-east migration is burning the chill from my bones while the Ruby-throat’s mission is one of nest building, egg laying, and young rearing. Weighing a mere 3.5 grams (less than a nickel), hummingbirds can migrate up to 1500 miles from Central America to New England, crossing the Gulf of Mexico in a single go. Hummingbirds are unique in their ability fly backwards, a skill dependent on the unique figure eight motion of their wings. Though Ruby-throated hummingbirds won’t be back in New England until May so in the mean time bask in the warmth of the California sun via this nest camera of an Allen’s Hummingbird in Orange County, CA.

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is an educator, bird watcher, and writer fascinated by the intersections of place, people, nature, and culture. He works for Mass Audubon and lives in the heart of Massachusetts. For questions or comments please contact:

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