Garden Guest: Rufous Hummingbird

002-Rufous-HummingbirdGarden Planner: By Mary James

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 The Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), measures a mere 3-1/2 inches, but nonetheless is a force to be reckoned with when defending its territory or feeding areas. Its name is descriptive of its rich rusty tones, covering the majority of its body.

Mature males host a fiery red-orange gorget, matching their feisty temperament. Rufous are known for having the longest migration route (from as far north as Alaska, to as far south as Mexico) of any hummingbird, and can be spotted in our area gardens and parks during their non-breeding season from early spring through fall.

Red flowering plants rich in nectar, such as salvia, penstemon and cuphea, attract them like a magnet. All hummingbirds appreciate a feeding station filled with sugar water (one part sugar to four parts water, boiled for 1 to 2 minutes, then cooled). It’s important to clean feeders at least every two days during summer months to keep pathogens at bay. 

— Judy Wigand 

Categories: Gardening