Calliope Hummingbird – 5th PA record
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Hummingbirds are unique and fascinating birds – tiny, fiesty, and super-fast. Here in southeastern Pennsylvania, birders mainly enjoy just one species – Ruby-throated Hummingbird – which zips around colorful flowers and sips sugar-water from nectar feeders throughout the spring and summer months. By early autumn, ruby-throats have disappeared, journeying south to warmer climates. Wise birders keep their nectar feeders fresh through the fall, hoping to attract a Rufous or any other vagrant western hummingbird.
The above photo is of an adult male Calliope Hummingbird I photographed in Arizona one summer; the striking magenta-colored gorget (throat) with elongated feathers is a remarkable difference from the spotty throat and buffy sides of the hatch-year bird.
The scientific name of Calliope Hummingbird is Selasphorus calliope – Sela meaning bright, flame, and phoros meaning bearing, in recognition of the brilliantly-colored gorget shown in adult males of the genus. Calliope is the Greek muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry with a beautiful voice. This species name is a bit enigmatic, as the bird’s chip call actually sounds course, hardly poetic, but the bird is indeed beautiful.
It was a treat to watch this Calliope Hummingbird in York County hungrily drinking nectar, flitting from nearby Serviceberry and Maple trees. I extend many thanks and appreciation to the homeowner for allowing me to photograph the bird.