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Russ Thompson Louisville, Ky
If you enjoy jigsaw puzzles check out these I have on Jigsaw Planet. Twenty puzzles of a variety of hummingbird photos for all hummingbird and jigsaw puzzle fans to enjoy.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Mom and her juvenile female (left) and juvenile male (right) were photographed in late September - early October 2012. Most likely they hatched and then around 21 days later fledged from the nest in August. Photos were taken in my backyard.
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Of the 330 plus species of hummingbirds that live in the Western Hemisphere, the only one to breed in the eastern part of the USA is the Ruby-throated. If you see a hummingbird during April - July, you can expect it to be a Ruby-throated if you are in the eastern part of the USA. Rufous Hummingbirds sometimes migrate into the eastern part of the USA as early as August but normally it will be later.
When Ruby-throated start arriving in April/May you will only see adult Ruby-throated Hummingbirds like the two in the photo at the top of this page. The male's throat will appear black and sometimes ruby-red according to how light is hitting the feathers. The female's throat will always appear white and her tail feathers will have white tips unlike the male's dark tail feather tips.
After arriving from their Central America winter home they will start the breeding process and with the female doing all the nuturing, the first chicks will leave the nest sometime in June. She usually does two nestings each summer with second fledging in August. When chicks first leave the nest they will appear to be females because all chicks have the white throat and white tail feather tips. As the male ages over the next month or two, you will see his throat gain a few red spots and then you can tell juvenile males from the females. After the first migration to Central America the juvenile males will return as adult Ruby-throated to or near the place they were hatched.
There are around 16 species of hummingbirds that breed in the USA and all except the Ruby-throated breed in the central or western states. Some of them live in the USA all year but most migrate into Mexico or Central America to spend the winter months and return to the USA for their breeding season.
A few birds from a few species will migrate to the eastern states to spend the winter months. They always return to their western breeding grounds for nesting and therefore you won't see them during the summer months in eastern USA.
The primary western hummingbird that visits us in eastern USA to spend the winter is the Rufous. In the photo to the left are shots of the female Rufous (and yes unlike the Ruby-throated female, the Rufous female will have some dark spots on her throat) while the male has a completely dark throat (middle photo). All three of these Rufous spent a winter in Kentucky.
To see more photos of hummingbirds enjoying flowers, visit the below link
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