Anna's Hummingbird at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge
We've completed our Thanksgiving journeys through Northern California and Oregon, and we made our traditional stop at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge in the northern Great Valley. This is a marvelous time of year, with thousands of migratory birds stopping in for the winter (you can expect to see plenty of pictures in future posts), and quite a number of year-round residents as well. My first choice from the pictures of the day was this little Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) taking shelter near the refuge visitor center. It's been a frigid couple of days (parts of California were colder than northern Alaska yesterday), and I would have worried about this little one. The metabolism of these birds is such that they are always within hours of starvation, and must consume a significant percentage of their body weight every day, especially in cold weather (they are tropical birds at heart). The refuge has planted some native shrubs outside the visitor center, so there were some flowers even in this cold weather to provide food for the hummingbirds.
The Anna's Hummingbird is more or less a California endemic with a historic range in Southern California and Baja, but it has expanded its range north to Vancouver with human habitation providing secure food sources for winter.
After seeing tens of thousands of geese, and dozens of raptors, it was such a shock to see this one little bird all by itself. I guess that made it stand out today.