Hummingbirds are found across the Americas, with 352 different varieties of them. The United States is home to up to 15 of those hummers. Canada and the United Kingdom are also represented. In the states, there are an additional 9-10 species that are vagrants and may appear from time to time. The Calliope hummingbird, a visitor to southwestern Canada, the western United States, and southwestern Mexico, is the species we’re looking at in this article.
We’re about to share some interesting facts and information about this amazing species, as well as displaying some up-close and personal photos. Let’s get to the good stuff, because there’s no time to waste.
Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
Wingspan: 4.1 – 4.3 inches
Weight: 0.1 oz
The littleest birds in the United States are commonly regarded to be Calliope hummingbirds. Despite this, they travel over 5,000 miles between their winter and summer grounds each year. These hummingbirds are named after Calliope, a Greek goddess, perhaps because of the males strands of pink feathers or their mating dance. When it came to elegance and epic poetry, Calliope was the leader of all muses.
Calliope hummingbirds are tiny, even smaller than other hummingbirds in the United States, as previously described. If the Calliope is surrounded by other hummingbird species, this size difference becomes more apparent. In comparison to other hummingbirds, their beak is also shorter. Short, broad, and un-forked is their tail. Green heads and backs, as well as deeper feathers around the wing and tail margins, are seen in both sexes.
Males have magenta feathers that stretch down the neck and onto the sides of the chest from beneath the beak to the bottom. The Calliope’s throat colors are in long streaks, unlike the solid block of color seen on many other hummingbirds.
The magenta throat feathers don’t exist in females (or juvenile males) They have a mostly white throat with some small markings. Their undersides are washed in a peachy-buffy color. There is some white on the tail’s corners. These hummers are bigger, have longer bills, and the peachy color on their sides is deeper and darker than that of the female Rufous and Allen’s hummingbirds.
Males can get aggressive when defending their territory while on their breeding grounds. They prefer to sit on exposed tree branches, particularly alder and willow, in order to see the area they want to safeguard. They’ll buzz around and try to drive off practically any other bird species they don’t want too close, even huge birds like robins or hawks! They are tiny, but they will Buzz Around.
Winter: southwestern coast of Mexico
Parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah are located in the summer in southeastern British Columbia along the southern border of Alberta.
During the winter, there is evidence that their range is expanding, as more Calliope’s have been discovered in the southeastern United States. This year, unlike in prior years,
Like all hummingbirds, the Calliope drinks from nectar producing flowers. They also catch insects by “hawking“, sitting on a perch until an insect gets close then quickly flying out to catch it mid-air. Calliope hummingbirds are also known to drink tree sap from holes made by sapsuckers. They may even eat insects that have become stuck in the sticky sap.
Pine-oak woodlands, thorn woodlands, and scrubby wooded borders are all favorite habitats of the Calliope when it’s in Mexico. When they arrive in the United States Cool mountains are the preferred breeding habitat. Nesting sites include mountain meadows, regrowing woodland, montane woodlands, and willow/alder thickets.
Males performed a flying back and forth in large, U-shaped arcs for females during a diving display. Their tail feathers flutter and make a buzzing sound during these dives, which emit a high-pitched call. They may also raise their wing beats to create more noise while extending their neck feathers in front of the female.
Inside his territory, the male will breed with many females. However, the female assumes full responsibility of constructing and raising the offspring.
The breeding Calliope height ranges from 4,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level. In areas where foliage provides some protection from the elements, such as on evergreen branches, nests are commonly built.
Nests are occasionally made to resemble pinecones, and are built on branches where a pinecone had previously developed. Soft plant material is used in the nest cup’s interior, and bark, lichen, and moss are used to conceal it.
In the spring, the calliope moves north along the Pacific shore, then in the autumn, it returns south through the Rocky Mountains. They spend the summer in British Columbia and parts of the United States. They’ll start heading south in late August or early September.
Those in the Rocky Mountain area should see them migrating through at this time of year. The majority had crossed the border into Mexico by the end of October. In the winter, they live in places along the western coast of Mexico, particularly around Puerto Vallarta and Colima.
During the winter, Calliope hummingbirds may be seen in Texas and Louisiana, although in small numbers. They’re about to cross the border into America. In the beginning of March, they were on their way north again. Males are more likely to stake out their territory first.
Calliope hummingbird populations are currently estimated to number about 4.5 million individuals, with 75% of them breeding in the United States. Breeders in Canada number 25% of the population. There is worry that future human land-use developments or natural disasters may have a significant impact on the whole population since their winter range is confined to a relatively small area.
HOW TO ATTRACT THIS BIRD
Backyards and feeders within their range are visited by Calliope hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are drawn to the yard by nectar feeders, flowers, and water, as are other hummingbirds.
- Place a 1:4 ratio of sugar and water in a nectar feeder.
- Flowers are borne by plants that produce nectar. Columbine, fireweed, monkey flower, larkspur, creeping mahonia, trumpet gillia, paintbrush and bee plant are some of the Calliope hummingbird’s favorite choices.
- A shallow bird bath, especially with a fountain, should be placed.
FACTS ABOUT CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRDS
1. CALLIOPE’S ARE THE SMALLEST BIRDS IN THE UNITED STATES
They weigh about the same as a ping-pong ball or penny, and are significantly smaller than even the tiniest of the warblers!
2. MALES CAN MAKE THREE DISTINCT SOUNDS DURING COURTSHIP
The air flowing through the wing and tail feathers of males during their courting dive show makes its own distinctive sound, according to research. These two feather sounds are mixed with vocalization to produce three independent noises with distinct acoustics, each of which may send distinct signals to attract females.
3. CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRDS CAN GO INTO TORPOR TO CONSERVE ENERGY
When you spend your time in the Rocky Mountains, even summer nights may be quite chilly. The Calliope may enter a semi-hibernation mode called torpor to conserve energy throughout the night. The hummingbird doesn’t have to use as much of its fat reserves since it is deeper than sleep in torpor metabolism and body temperature.