The second smallest hummingbirds after the Calliopes, Allen’s hummingbirds begin their spring migration early. Moving north in Mexico by December, they reach coastal California and southern Oregon around January or February.
“If an Allen’s hummingbird really likes your yard, it will come back year after year. They are very site-specific,” says Barbara Monahan, whose property in Santa Cruz, California, was a banding site for 3,000 hummingbirds for the nonprofit Hummingbird Monitoring Network.
Named for Charles Andrew Allen, a California taxidermist, the bird was first classified in 1877. Allen’s hummingbirds are about 3 inches long, and slightly smaller than Anna’s hummingbirds found in the same gardens. Allen’s are similar to rufous hummers, but that species nests farther north. Allen’s have lots of copper plumage, green backs and shimmering red to gold-orange throats.
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