In Oklahoma, there are a total of 5 species of hummingbirds that fly through its vast landscapes. The most common of these tiny avian creatures is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, easily allured by nectar feeders and blooming flowers. However, a Black-chinned Hummingbird from the west coast might make a surprise appearance, venturing eastward to grace Oklahomans with its presence. For those lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a Rufous Hummingbird, be prepared for their feisty and spirited nature. While Calliope Hummingbirds are rare in the eastern US, they have been spotted in Oklahoma’s far west, near the state’s border. Lastly, the Broad-tailed Hummingbird, also uncommon in these parts, has been sighted in the far western regions. To invite these charming creatures into your own backyard, consider hanging nectar feeders, cultivating native flowers, providing water sources, and encouraging the presence of insects for protein.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is a small, vibrant bird that is known for its stunning appearance. The male has a bright, iridescent green body with a ruby-red throat, while the female has a duller green coloration. They have long, slender bills that are adapted for feeding on nectar from flowers. These hummingbirds are incredibly agile, capable of hovering and flying backwards. They are about 3 to 3.5 inches long and weigh only a few grams.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, gardens, and coastal areas. They breed in the eastern parts of the United States and southern Canada, and migrate to Central America for the winter. In Oklahoma, these hummingbirds can be found throughout the state during the spring and summer months.
These hummingbirds are known for their incredible flying abilities. They are capable of hovering in mid-air, and can even fly backwards. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are also very territorial and will defend their feeding and nesting areas from other hummingbirds and even larger birds. During courtship displays, males perform elaborate aerial acrobatics to attract females.
The primary diet of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds consists of nectar from flowers. They are attracted to brightly colored tubular flowers, such as trumpet vine, bee balm, and red columbine. In addition to nectar, they also consume small insects and spiders for protein. These tiny birds have a high metabolism and must consume large amounts of food to fuel their constant activity.
Attracting to Your Yard
To attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your yard, there are a few key steps you can take. Firstly, consider hanging nectar feeders in your yard. Fill them with a solution of four parts water to one part white granulated sugar, and make sure to clean and refill them regularly. Additionally, planting native flowers that produce nectar-rich blooms is a great way to attract these birds. Some native flowers that are popular among Ruby-throated Hummingbirds include cardinal flower, trumpet vine, and coral honeysuckle. Lastly, providing a water source such as a shallow birdbath or misting fountain can be enticing to hummingbirds.
The Black-chinned Hummingbird is a small hummingbird that is native to the western parts of the United States and northern Mexico. It is named for the black coloration on the throat of the male, which is not always visible. The males have a green back and a white belly, while the females have a duller green coloration overall. They are slightly larger than Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, measuring around 3.5 to 4 inches in length.
While not commonly found in Oklahoma, Black-chinned Hummingbirds can occasionally be spotted in the state, primarily west of Oklahoma City. They prefer open woodlands, desert scrub, and brushy areas as their habitat. During the breeding season, they can be found in higher elevation areas with more vegetation.
Black-chinned Hummingbirds are known for their aggressive nature. Males often engage in fierce aerial battles to defend their territory and food sources. They are also solitary birds and do not form large flocks. Males perform elaborate courtship displays, which include producing a loud high-pitched sound by rapidly flapping their wings.
The diet of the Black-chinned Hummingbird consists primarily of nectar from a variety of plants, including penstemon, cactus, and salvia. They have also been known to consume small insects as a source of protein. Similar to other hummingbirds, these tiny birds have a high metabolism and must feed frequently to meet their energy needs.
Occurrence in Oklahoma
Black-chinned Hummingbirds are not a common sight in Oklahoma, but they have been spotted on occasion, particularly in the western part of the state. Their presence in the region is likely due to migration or dispersal from their usual range along the west coast.
The Rufous Hummingbird is a small bird known for its fiery orange coloration. The males have bright orange feathers on their back, while the females have a mix of green and orange feathers. They are similar in size to Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, measuring around 3.5 to 4 inches in length.
Rufous Hummingbirds are commonly found in the western parts of the United States, including Oklahoma. They prefer a variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, and gardens. They are also known for their extensive migration, traveling long distances between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in Mexico.
These hummingbirds are known for their aggressiveness and feisty nature. Rufous Hummingbirds are highly territorial and will fiercely defend their feeding and nesting areas. They are also known for their aerial displays, which involve rapid and erratic flight patterns. Males perform impressive dives and swoops to attract females.
The Rufous Hummingbird primarily feeds on nectar from a variety of flowers, including scarlet gilia, Indian paintbrush, and wild honeysuckle. They are particularly drawn to red and orange flowers. To supplement their diet, they also consume small insects and spiders. This combination of nectar and insects provides them with the necessary nutrients for their active lifestyle.
Occurrence in Oklahoma
Rufous Hummingbirds are commonly sighted in Oklahoma, particularly during their migration periods. They can be seen in the state from late spring to early fall, as they pass through on their way to their breeding or wintering grounds. The presence of flowering native plants and nectar feeders can attract these vibrant hummingbirds to your yard.
The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird found in North America, measuring only around 3 inches in length. The males have a striking red gorget, while the females have a green throat that is speckled with pink. They have a slim body and a short bill, which is ideal for their feeding habits.
Calliope Hummingbirds are typically found in mountainous regions of western North America, but they have been spotted in Oklahoma’s far western part of the state. They prefer coniferous forests and meadows, often inhabiting areas above 5,000 feet in elevation.
Despite their small size, Calliope Hummingbirds can be quite territorial and aggressive. They vigorously defend their feeding territories from other hummingbirds and even larger birds. During courtship displays, males perform elaborate aerial acrobatics that include rapid wingbeats and pendulum-like swings.
The primary diet of the Calliope Hummingbird consists of nectar from a variety of flowers, including scarlet gilia, columbine, and beardtongue. They are also known to consume small insects and spiders for additional protein. These tiny birds have a high metabolic rate, which means they require a substantial amount of food to fuel their constant flight.
Occurrence in Oklahoma
Although rare in the eastern parts of the United States, Calliope Hummingbirds have been sighted in Oklahoma’s far western region. Their presence in the state is likely a result of their migration patterns, as they pass through certain areas during their journeys between their breeding and wintering grounds. Providing a suitable habitat with nectar-rich flowers can increase your chances of attracting these unique hummingbirds to your yard.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbird is a small hummingbird known for its vibrant green coloration and distinctive buzzing sound produced by its wings. The males have a bright red throat that can appear black depending on the lighting conditions. The females have a duller green coloration overall. They are similar in size to Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, measuring around 3.5 to 4 inches in length.
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are primarily found in the western parts of North America. While rare in Oklahoma, they have been spotted in the state’s far western region near the panhandle. They prefer open woodlands, meadows, and montane areas as their habitat.
Similar to other hummingbird species, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are highly territorial and will actively defend their feeding and nesting areas. They are capable of hovering and can fly backwards, similar to the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Males perform courtship displays by flying in a distinctive U-shaped pattern while producing a buzzing sound with their wings.
The diet of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds primarily consists of nectar from a variety of flowers, including penstemon, scarlet gilia, and columbine. They are attracted to vibrant red and orange flowers. In addition to nectar, they also consume small insects and spiders for protein. These tiny birds require frequent feeding due to their high metabolic rate.
Occurrence in Oklahoma
Although rare in Oklahoma, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds have been sighted in the state’s far western region. Their presence in the area is likely a result of migration or dispersal from their usual range in the western parts of the United States. Providing a suitable environment with nectar-rich flowers and appropriate habitat features can increase the chances of attracting these stunning hummingbirds to your yard.
Attracting Hummingbirds to your Yard
Hang Nectar Feeders
One of the most effective ways to attract hummingbirds to your yard is by hanging nectar feeders. These feeders are specially designed to hold a sugar water solution that mimics the nectar found in flowers. Hang the feeders in a visible location, such as near a window or in a garden, and make sure to keep them clean and filled with fresh nectar. This provides a constant food source for hummingbirds and encourages them to return to your yard.
Make Your Own Nectar
If you prefer not to use store-bought nectar, you can make your own at home. Mix four parts water with one part white granulated sugar and bring it to a boil. Allow the mixture to cool before filling your nectar feeders. Avoid using honey, artificial sweeteners, or red food coloring, as these can be harmful to hummingbirds.
Plant Native Flowers
Planting native flowers is an excellent way to attract hummingbirds to your yard. Native plants provide a natural and reliable source of nectar for the birds. Some native flowers that are popular among hummingbirds include trumpet vine, bee balm, cardinal flower, scarlet gilia, and Indian paintbrush. Plant a variety of flowers that bloom at different times throughout the year to ensure a continuous food source for these vibrant birds.
Provide Water Sources
Hummingbirds not only require nectar for their diet but also need access to water. By providing a water source in your yard, you can attract these tiny birds. Consider installing a shallow birdbath or a misting fountain. Make sure the water is clean and changed regularly to prevent any potential bacterial growth.
Promote Insects for Protein
In addition to nectar, hummingbirds also require insects as a source of protein. By promoting a healthy insect population in your yard, you can provide an essential food source for hummingbirds. Avoid using pesticides and herbicides that can harm insects. Instead, create a diverse habitat by planting native plants that attract a variety of insects and provide perches or shrubs for them to rest on.
By following these tips and creating a welcoming environment, you can attract a variety of hummingbird species to your yard. Enjoy the beauty and wonder that these tiny birds bring as they flit and hover with their incredible aerial acrobatics.