Rufous Hummingbirds: August Fireworks

plh_6895rLike animated jewelry, the bright copper hummingbirds have been rocketing through our yard for the past few weeks. I’m constantly amazed at how something that small can go that fast. Rufous Hummingbirds are our special treat this time of year. In spring they migrate northward along the Pacific flyway, making the enormous trek from Mexico to Oregon, Idaho, or even all the way to southern Alaska, in order to nest and raise their young. Now that they’re empty nesters, it’s time for the return trip.

Some Rufous hummers go home the way they came, flying through California. Others head for the Rockies. No one knows why—maybe they just want a change of scenery. The upshot of their wanderlust is that those of us who live in Colorado get a late summer fireworks display. Starting in mid-July and running until Labor Day, these feisty birds dominate the feeders.