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 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 or 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