Hummingbirds are fascinating animals.
This was a good year for our nesting Ruby-throats, but they are leaving. Most of our nesting birds leave the region by mid October. I recommend leaving your hummingbird feeders out from now until January 1 for two reasons. Migrants need additional energy for the dangerous trip south, and this is the time period when non-breeding hummingbirds start showing up in Maryland. I call non-breeding species "out-of-season, out-of-range birds".
Maryland now has four non-breeding species on the state list: Rufous, Calliope, Anna's and Allen's Hummingbirds. They show up in the East during October through January. For example, in 2008 within about a 20-mile stretch in Calvert County along the western side of the Chesapeake Bay, we had the fourth Maryland state record of a Calliope Hummingbird (North Beach), a hatch-year female Rufous (Port Republic), and a first Maryland state record hatch-year female Allen’ s (Prince Frederick). The Allen's was discovered on December 23. To see images of a number of these animals visit www.georgejett.net. These vagrants are normally hatch year birds that have yet to learn which way to migrate. Hatch-year birds are those born this spring or summer. We have two Rufous Hummingbird records for Charles and many others across the state. Please contact George Jett directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.georgejett.net if you see a hummingbird that looks different from the ruby-throated; better yet, take a picture and send it to him.
From George Jett in the MDOsprey
Nature Notes for 10/17/2010