Vermont, with its diverse range of habitats, is a great place to spot a variety of bird species, including several types of hummingbirds. In this blog post, we’ll explore the different types of hummingbirds found in Vermont, their behaviors, and habitats.
From the common and colorful Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the rarer and more elusive Rufous Hummingbird, we’ll take a closer look at these fascinating birds and their roles in Vermont’s ecosystems. We’ll also provide tips on how to spot and identify these birds in the wild, as well as some resources for further reading and exploration.
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher, a nature enthusiast, or simply curious about the wildlife in your area, we invite you to join us on a journey to discover the amazing world of hummingbirds in Vermont!
3 Types of Hummingbirds in Vermont
- Ruby Throated Hummingbird
- Rufous Hummingbird
- Mexican Violetear
- Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
- Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild
- Weight: 2.5 to 4 grams
- Size: 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 8 to 11 cm (3.1 to 4.3 inches)
- Origin: Found throughout eastern North America, from southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in some parts of Central America during migration.
The male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have an iridescent red throat, and both sexes have bright green throats and back with gray-white undersides. Female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have white undersides, greenbacks, and brownish crowns and sides.
The only hummingbird species that breeds in eastern North America is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, which subsequently migrates farther south to Central America. Some travel across Texas along the coast or over the Gulf of Mexico. For breeding, they begin to arrive in the deep south in February and may not reach the northern states and Canada until May. They go south In September and August.
These little birds fly from one nectar source to another, catching insects in the air or on the webs of spiders. They will sometimes rest on a tiny branch, but because of their short legs, they can only shuffle along a perch and can’t walk.
The best locations to look for them outside in the summer are flowering gardens or forest margins. They are very widespread in urban areas, particularly around nectar feeders.
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are aggressive in the protection of feeders and flowers. After mating, they do not stay around for very long and may migrate by early august.
Ruby-throated females make their nests on thin branches out of thistle or dandelion down that are bound together by spider silk. They lay 1-3 eggs that are only 0.6 inches in diameter (1.3 cm)
- Scientific name: Selasphorus rufus
- Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in the wild
- Weight: 2.7 to 4.3 grams
- Size: 7 to 9 cm (2.8 to 3.5 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 11 cm (4.3 inches)
- Origin: Found in western North America, from Alaska to Mexico
Rufous Hummingbirds are bright orange on the back and belly, have a white patch below the neck, and have an iridescent red throat. The females have a pale belly and a back that is greenish-brown and rusty in color.
As compared to their size, rufous hummingbirds have one of the longest migration routes, covering up to 4000 kilometers on each trip. They move south to Mexico and the Gulf Coast to spend the winter after breeding in northwest Alaska.
In the spring, they go north along the Pacific Coast, and in the late summer and autumn, they pass past the Rocky Mountains.
The main sources of food for rufous hummingbirds are nectar from vibrant tubular flowers and insects including gnats, midges, and flies. They use soft plant down and spider webs to keep their nest together as they make it high up in the trees. They lay two or three very little, white eggs that are 0.5 in (1.3 cm) long.
They are quite hostile and will attack any other hummingbirds that appear, even bigger ones or those who are resident during migration. They won’t stay around for very long during migration and will often chase off other hummingbirds if they have the opportunity. They inhabit mountain meadows and, during the winter, woodlands, and woods.
- Scientific name: Colibri thalassinus
- Lifespan: Up to 8 years in the wild
- Weight: 6 to 7 grams
- Size: 9 to 10 cm (3.5 to 3.9 inches) in length, with a wingspan of 12 to 14 cm (4.7 to 5.5 inches)
- Origin: Found in montane forests of Mexico and Central America.
Mexico Violetears are medium-sized hummingbirds that have violet spots on the sides of their heads and breasts and are metallic green overall.
Mexican Violetears may be found as far south as the highlands of Bolivia and Venezuela. They breed in forests in Mexico, Central America, and Nicaragua. In particular in Central and Southern Texas, non-breeding Mexican Violetears have been seen to travel northward into the United States.
Vermont is home to several species of hummingbirds that contribute to the state’s beautiful natural landscapes. From the Ruby-throated Hummingbird to the rarer Rufous Hummingbird, these tiny birds are a delight to watch and study.
While Vermont’s hummingbirds may be small, they play an important role in the state’s ecosystems as pollinators and predators of insect pests. It’s important that we continue to learn about and protect these species, especially as their habitats are threatened by climate change and habitat loss.
Whether you’re an experienced birder or a nature enthusiast, we hope this guide has inspired you to explore the world of hummingbirds in Vermont. By appreciating and protecting these amazing birds, we can help preserve the state’s natural beauty for generations to come.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What types of hummingbirds can be found in Vermont?
A: The most common hummingbird species found in Vermont is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
Q: What types of flowers can I plant to attract hummingbirds in Vermont?
A: Hummingbirds are attracted to bright, tubular flowers such as bee balm, cardinal flower, and trumpet vine. You can also plant other nectar-rich flowers like salvia, penstemon, and columbine.
Q: What type of feeder should I use to attract hummingbirds in Vermont?
A: You can use a standard hummingbird feeder filled with a mixture of four parts water to one part white granulated sugar. Avoid using red food coloring or honey, as they can be harmful to hummingbirds.
Q: Are there any conservation concerns for hummingbirds in Vermont?
A: Although hummingbirds are not considered endangered in Vermont, habitat loss and fragmentation can negatively impact their populations. It is important to maintain and restore suitable habitats for hummingbirds and other wildlife in the state.