July 21, 2013 by: Ann Harwood
Calliope & Rufous Hummingbirds Active at Bear Spirit Lodge B&B, St. Ignatius, Montana
Rufous Hummingbirds at Bear Spirit Lodge
Hummingbirds are beautiful, small birds with iridescent, colorful feathers. They start arriving at Bear Spirit Lodge B&B in the Mission Mountains usually the first part of June. The babies around the hummingbird feeder have grown so much in a 6-week period.
Over 300 species (5 different species in Montana) of hummingbirds have been documented in the western USA & South America. These species are the Calliope, the Rufous, the Black-chinned, the Anna's & the Broad-tailed. The Calliope is the smallest of all birds with beautiful rose pink feathers on the throat of the male. The males are colorful & flash their colors at all the females with the hopes of mating with as many as possible. The females build the nests, feed the babies, and actually do all the work as "head of the hummingbird household."
Such fascinating little birds, they have the highest metabolism of all animals (excluding insects). Their name comes from the fact that they flap their wings so fast, about 80 times per second, that they make a humming noise. They can fly left, right, up, down, backwards, and even upside down. They hover flapping their wings in a figure-8 pattern.
This summer because of the unusual weather, the flowers are not producing as much nectar as usual. So we fix the hummingbirds "breakfast" everyday, too, in the form of sugar water for the hummingbird feeders. We have used a lot more sugar for the hummingbirds this summer than for B&B guests! Looks like they suck nectar through their long bills, but that is an illusion. These little birds have a long tongue which they lick at the sugar water with their fringed, forked tongue & lick about 10-15 times per second while feeding.
Lots more to say about hummingbirds, so come here & see the variety of Calliope, Rufous & others here. They will start migrating to Mexico sometime in September. They are inspiring to me to "keep on keeping on" & flying with grace!