News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Country birds

Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus Rufus) is a fiery and often quarrelsome hummingbird that is the most common visitor to our nectar feeders. The brilliant orange gorget and rufous back flash in the sunlight as they move from blossom to blossom gleaning nectar. The Rufous is an important pollinator within the plant communities, pollinating a number of plants that bees are unable to reach.

Weighing in at a little over a penny, the Rufous Hummingbird feeds frequently, for it can lose up to 10 percent of its body weight overnight! They have massive energy needs, as they maintain wingbeat speeds of 50-200 beats per second and a heart rate that can reach 1,280 beats per minute. The males perform mating dives reaching 100 feet as they try to impress the females.

Males typically migrate earlier than females. In spring early arrival is important as they stake claim to the best breeding territories and then leave in late July or August. The female Rufous acts as a “single” parent as it handles all the rearing activities, which usually consists of two tiny, white eggs in a mossy lichen nest.

A group of hummingbirds are known as a “tune,” a “hover,” a “glittering,” or a “bouquet.”

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