Costa’s Hummingbird at the Desert Museum

By Dan Weisz

Costa’s Hummingbirds are one of the very common hummingbirds of the Foothills in Tucson. They live here year-round.

The flower patch that was being used by the visiting Allen’s Hummingbird was also “claimed” by two male Costa’s Hummingbirds. By the time I began watching and photographing the birds, both species of hummingbirds had mostly settled their claims. They were no longer fighting for ownership of the flowers, but each had established a territory. The Allen’s claimed half of the flowers, all on the western side of the patch. One Costa’s had claimed a large portion of the eastern half of the patch, and the other Costa’s claimed the remaining small part of the eastern side.

I think the photos below are all of the same Costa’s. Note the dusting of flower pollen on this fellow’s forehead and bill.

The Costa’s was feeding at Cape Honeysuckle’s orange flowers and at the Chuparosa red flowers below. In this shot, the hummingbird was daintily feeding. At other times, he buried his head inside the flower to get the nectar at the bottom of the flower.

And when he buried his head in the flower, his forehead rested on the end of the stamen (the “man” part of the flower), called the anther. The anther carries the pollen.

Yes, that’s where that yellow comes from.

Hummingbirds, as all birds do, preen to clean their feathers. They will do this several times per day. You can see how long the feathers in the Costa’s gorget are in this shot.

All cleaned now and feeling good.

Stretching is a good way to get all those feathers in place after preening. First to the right adding a tail spread…..

and then to the left adding a dropped wing spread…..

All is now good!

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