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Hummingbirds in Idaho

These fast and small jewels make for a first-rate backyard birdwatching

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Watching a hummingbird is an unparalleled experience, as this unique bird is well-known for being the smallest one in the world and incredibly speedy. A hummer moves its wings at frequencies audible to humans as a hum; hence comes the name of this bird. Idaho presents excellent chances to glimpse a couple of these cute little fellows, as they come to breed there after wintering in Mexico and Central America.

When do hummingbirds return to Idaho

The first migrants might appear in Idaho as early as April, and the last ones leave in September. But the best time to see the greatest variety of hummers is during the season between May and August.

Types of hummingbirds in Idaho

Some scientists count up to eight hummingbird species in Idaho, but in fact, the state is mainly known for five most common types. Four of them—black-chinned, calliope, rufous, and broad-tailed hummingbirds—breed in Idaho. In contrast, the latter species, which is Anna's hummingbird, winters here. Black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) is widespread all over the state, while others prevail in certain areas.

Hummingbirds in the north of Idaho

If you visit northern Idaho, the most common species here feature calliope hummingbird (Stellula calliope) and rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus). These types of hummers like to breed further from other hummingbirds, yet they do like to feed on sugary water from the feeders that locals set out in their backyards. But note that as long as you lure rufous hummers to your garden, they will aggressively force out other birds, even twice their size, for they keep feeding territories exclusively to themselves.

Hummingbirds in Boise and southern Idaho

The areas between central and southern Idaho are the breeding ground of the broad-tailed hummingbirds (Selasphorus platycercus). Unlike the other species, these hummers stay in Idaho for a short period from late May to early August. Check out Hummingbird Feeding Area (or Sanctuary) in Kimberly, some 40 miles (64 km) south of Twin Falls. Additionally, in winter, usually September through December, you can occasionally spot Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) in these territories. They especially like to spend winter near Boise.

How to attract hummingbirds

Generally, you can encounter a hummingbird in your backyard garden or anywhere across Idaho. You'll only need to plant hummers' favorite red flowers of tubular shapes. Or you can put out a feeder filled with sugary water. Just follow a simple recipe by mixing one part of sugar with four parts of water.

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Last updated: by Olha Savych