Here is the tiny Calliope Hummingbird.
I hoped to see a Calliope Hummingbird all spring and summer but was never in the right area (western mountain areas) at the right time. Finally, they were at Sipe during the fall hummingbird migration, mixed in with the Rufous and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.
The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest hummingbird of the United States and Canada. It is also the smallest bird that nests in the United States. It is very small, between 2.75 and 3.25 inches (7.5 – 8 cm) long, including the beak. More facts about the Calliope are here.
Male Calliope Hummingbird
The male Calliope Hummingbirds have spiky dark red gorget feathers. I only saw a few of them, but they were fairly easy to spot in the middle of the other migrating hummingbirds. I looked for their purplish red gorget, small size, and short tail (tail is about as short as wing tips when the hummingbird is perched). They slipped in and out of the crowds at the feeders, not calling attention to themselves.
Female Calliope Hummingbird
The female Calliope Hummingbirds were more tricky to identify. Their pale coloring is similar to other female and immature hummingbirds. I looked for a short tail as well as small size. The picture above is a female Calliope, or perhaps an immature Calliope.
Calliope Hummingbirds in the swarm
The Calliope Hummingbirds were quiet and discreet in this setting. They would feed quietly while other hummingbirds were fighting and chasing. Sometimes the Calliopes would get flushed off the feeders in the general chaos, but the other hummers mostly left them alone. The male Calliopes did notice each other, but I did not see any bother to give chase.
They were very cute.
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