Monday, August 12, 2013

Hummingbirds

If you are hiking or walking around Alta during the summer months, you will most likely see or hear hummingbirds.  The abundance of wildflowers draws them to Little Cottonwood Canyon because In order to gather enough nectar, hummingbirds must visit hundreds of flowers every day


Male broad-tailed hummingbird
The most common species to Utah is the Broad-tailed hummingbird.  Males produce a metallic, high-pitched trill with their wings that can heard from 75-100 yards away. We seem them frequently on the deck feeders at Alta Lodge. The male has a metallic, iridescent rosy-magenta colored gorget and flashy green-colored sides, back and crown. The less colorful females, show a few rose-colored feathers on a bronze speckled throat, whitish undersides and buffy to slightly cinnamon washed flanks below their green feathered back.

Hummingbirds are not at all social and are known for their aggression.  They divide themselves by territories and will protect that territory, which are about the size of a quarter acre.  Male hummingbirds are very aggressive. They set up their territory and will chase off any male that comes near. This helps the male hummingbirds eliminate the competition for the female hummingbirds in the area.  

These bird are also extremely intelligent. Their brain is larger in comparison to body size than any other bird. They have an amazing memory and know every flower in their territory and how long it will take each flower to refill. They also remember year to year, where each and every hummingbird feeder is, both at home and along a migration path. 

Additional species of hummingbirds in Utah are:
Black-chinnedCalliope, Rufous, Costa's, Anna's, Broad-billed, Magnificent, Blue-throated. Click on the links for photos and info.


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