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Hummingbirds in Oregon

Prepare your backyard properly and stand a chance to observe eight types of hummers in Oregon

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Last updated: by Olha Savych
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Adorable hummingbirds never fail to impress with their vivid plumage colors and dashing speed. If you crave to see some of these stunning birds, the smallest on our planet, Oregon is a great choice. Most of the hummers encountered within the state are migratory species, which winter in Mexico and come to Oregon in spring for their breeding season. They usually start arriving in late February and leave in early September. Still, the best time to witness these tittles is between March and August. That being said, August is the most vibrant month as the birds are swarming around the feeders to fatten up before the grueling journey south.

Types of hummingbirds in Oregon

In total, Oregon records eight hummer species. Anna's hummingbird is the only native-breeder and year-round resident here. Whereas Oregon's seasonal hummers include rufous, calliope, black-chinned, Allen's, and broad-tailed hummingbirds. Two more types—costa's and broad-billed hummingbirds—rarely appear in the Pacific Northwest.

Hummingbirds in Portland, Oregon

If you know how to attract these buzzy fellows, you can count on seeing one even in the most populous city in the state. Portland is mainly known for two hummer species: the resident Anna's hummingbird and the migratory rufous hummingbird.

Anna's hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna) stands out with its flamboyant green and rosy feathers, looking like sequins. Being the size of a tennis ball and the weight of less than a nickel, Anna's hummingbird is still the biggest one in the region. Besides, this bird is also one of the most vocal in the family, singing all year round. So if you hear a dry, scratchy buzz, this must be a male's call. In addition to Portland, Anna's hummingbirds can be spotted in the West Cascades and around Oakridge during the summer. Currently, during winter, they typically remain at lower elevations close to backyard feeders.

Rufous hummingbird

Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) boasts prominent rusty-red plumage. Even though it's a migrant bird, this hummingbird is still known as the most common species across Oregon. Rufous hummingbirds often choose to breed in the forests of Western Oregon. Still, they also adore drinking sugary water from the feeders in your backyard. The first rufous hummers show up in Portland in early summer. An amusing fact about these hummingbirds is they don't share food and aggressively protect feeding territories even from birds over twice their size.

How to attract hummingbirds in Oregon

Plant a garden

As you know, hummingbirds might become frequent guests in your backyard on condition that you've prepared for their visit. One of the best ways to lure these birdies is to grow some of their favorite plants. Hummers are easily attracted to red blossoms and tubular shapes. So coral honeysuckle, red larkspur, western columbine, and Indian paintbrush are your best allies. But other colors and shapes can also work. Hummers are likely to appreciate begonias, penstemons, or Oregon grapes, just to name a few.

Put out hummingbird feeders

Another effective bait is a feeder. Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) advises not to use commercial red-dyed nectar. Instead, you can cook hummingbird food yourself with a part of white sugar (no brown sugar and no honey) and four parts of water. The mixture is boiled for two minutes, stirred, cooled, and poured into the feeders. Extra sugary water can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. When buying a hummingbird feeder, choose a glass container (with an ant guard) rather than a plastic one. It's also essential to clean the feeder at least once a week. If you follow the rules, you'll have yourself a top-notch birdwatching experience and make the lives of the little buddies easier and sweeter.

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