Sitting quietly on a prominent low perch, a Calliope Hummingbird male keeps guard over his nesting mate, see photo below. These tiny birds are among four species of hummingbird that can be seen in the Okanagan Valley each year. (Anna's Hummingbirds, which are year-round at the BC coast, occasionally turn up here in winter.) But the other three species are all summer visitors, coming here to breed. The smallest bird species in North America, at only 3 1/4"/~8cm, Calliope Hummingbirds amazingly migrate to Central or South America to spend our winter months. Hummingbirds are attracted to red flowers, especially those with a tubular shape, and all hummingbirds will come to well-supplied feeders, particularly if there are flowers nearby.
Rufous Hummingbirds are only 1/2" larger than the Calliope, (~9.5cm). Brilliantly coloured orange throat feathers flash in the sun but look black when in shadow. The bird's back is a reddish brown, so they are easy to identify. Females have green backs, only a tiny triangle of iridescence at the throat and young birds virtually none. Black-chinned Hummingbirds (bottom r above) are rarer than the Calliope or Rufous but can be seen every year. Males have a brilliant rich purple throat, which looks black when not reflecting light.