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Best time to travel to Washington

Hummingbirds

Every summer, the smallest birds in America nest in the mountains and in the coastal valleys of Washington

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Hummingbirds can be often spotted along the Pacific Northwest Coast. The smallest migrating birds, which are known for the humming sound created by their wings, are native to North and South America.

From four hummingbird species found in Washington, only Anna’s hummingbirds can be seen all year round. Rufous, Calliope, and Black-chinned hummingbirds are migrating species, and the best time to observe them in Washington is during the warmer period of the year, from March to August. They become especially common in late summer after they are done with breeding and start to accumulate fat for their long journey south. These amazing tiny birds complete their migration solo, covering up to 500 miles (800 km).

Anna's Hummingbirds

Anna's hummingbirds (Calypte anna) can be spotted in parks and gardens across Washington. Males are easily recognized due to their bright magenta throats. Females look more modest with green heads and feathers, black tails, and short straight bills. Anna's hummingbirds are common in the Puget Trough ecoregion, stretching from the Cascades to the Olympic Mountains.

Rufous Hummingbirds

Rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) arrive at their breeding grounds in Washington in early spring. In September, they migrate south to Mexico and other Central American countries. They usually nest in the mountains and could be found in Long Beach and Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.

Rare Calliope hummingbirds (Selasphorus calliope) can be seen in Washington from March to August. They nest mostly in the mountains and migrate south for the winter. Black-chinned hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri) also arrive in Washington in March, but they start their winter migration as early as July. Even though they are quite rare, it's possible to spot black-chinned hummingbirds near the city of Spokane and in Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern part of the state.

Hummingbirds feed on nectar, like the one found in honeysuckle flowers. So planting certain kinds of flowers is a good way to attract more tiny birds to your garden. Another way to attract hummingbirds is to put out feeders, filled with sugary water.

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