Other Birds - Sounds Wild
Anna's Hummingbird


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Anna’s Hummingbird

On a cool spring day in early April, the first hummingbird of the year visits a feeder in Ketchikan at the southern end of Alaska panhandle. It’s a rufous hummingbird, the most widely distributed hummingbird in North America, and the most common hummingbird by far in Alaska. The rufous migrates to Alaska every spring, traveling up the coastline. Some travel from as far south as Georgia and even southern Mexico - One hummingbird banded in Prince William Sound in June was documented in Florida the following winter – a journey of more than 3,500 miles one-way.

Hummingbirds are strictly a New World creature – they’re found only in North and South America. They fascinated and perplexed the first Europeans who arrived on the continents. Christopher Columbus wrote that he thought they were a kind of hybrid between insects and birds.

In the decades since the turn of the 21st century, a second hummingbird species, Anna’s hummingbird, has become a more frequent spring and summer visitor to Alaska. A distinctive hummingbird of the west coast, Anna’s hummingbirds have colonized new locations further north and west over the 21st century and are moving further north into Southeast Alaska. Their fondness for hummingbird feeders has greatly helped their range expansion, and people’s ability to document that expansion.