Information compiled in 2005. Things on campus may have changed since then!
Allen's Humming Bird
( Important Hummingbird Feeder Info - Improperly maintained feeders can KILL hummingbirds)
Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
Pictures: (click for larger images)
A male Allen's Hummingbird flying around a bottlebrush plant outside of Ackerman Union just next to Bruin Walk. At least I think it was a male; it's not nearly as orange as the photo I got later (below). 2/25/05 Photo by Jason Finley. Same Allen's Hummingbird perching next to Bruin Walk. 2/25/05 Photo by Jason Finley. I think this was a female Allen's Hummingbird, in a nest outside an apartment on Roebling. She was probably sitting on an egg or two! 1/11/02 Photo by Jason Finley.
An Allen's Hummingbird, probably female or juvenile, gives itself a bath in the waterfall at the head of the stream in the UCLA Botanical Garden. March, 2005. Photo by Jason Finley.
Scrub a dub! March, 2005. Photo by Jason Finley. Awesome picture of a female Allen's Hummingbird taken by Sean Hoppes near Midvale & Landfair on the west side of campus. 5-14-05
A little blurred, but check out this male Allen's Hummingbird in the UCLA Botanical Garden! 9-3-05. Photo by Jason Finley.
Description: Tiny. 3.5" in length (beak to tail), smaller than a sparrow. Long skinny beak. Back and top of head (crown) is green (iridescent in males, duller in females). Rump and tail are orange-red (rufous). Males have bright copper-red throat, white upper chest, and orange belly and sides. Females have a tinge of rusty orange on their sides but are mostly white on their chest and belly. They also have a little white triangle-shaped patch behind their eyes, which the Anna's hummers don't.
Sound: Calls include a hissing "chip" done over and over usually. Often followed by "zee-chuppity chup." Listen to an Allen's Hummingbird calling! Link is to the sound page for this bird from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds.
Commonality/Seasonality: Very common year-round. Our climate here is such that they don't need to migrate.
Location: All over campus, anywhere there are trees or bushes with nectar-bearing flowers. In particular, hummingbirds (and other small birds) LOVE bottlebrush plants, of which we have many on campus and in the surrounding area. Here's a picture of a bottlebrush plant:
The bottlebrush plants may simply be bushes, if they are small, or may grow into full-fledged trees. Stick around one of these for a while and you're bound to hear some hummers and see them zooming around. Once you know what they sound like, you'll hear them all over.
Notes: Hummingbirds DO actually stop flying (contrary to an urban myth) and can be seen perching in trees and bushes. They are very territorial and fight with each other very often, so they're not flock birds. That said, you may see a good number of them around a good nectar source, but odds are they'll be chasing and fighting like crazy. They drink the nectar from flowers for energy, but also chase down and eat small insects for nutrition.
The other species of hummingbird we have on and around campus is the Anna's Hummingbird.
If you or anyone you know has, or is considering having a hummingbird feeder, please read this:
Important Hummingbird Feeder Info
Dr. Loye Miller wrote about Allen's & Rufous Hummingbirds together. Note that Allen's were apparently not resident back then (1947):
These two hummers are too closely alike to be distinguished except in the hand, but Allen's hummer passes through a month or more the earlier (February or March). Rufus doesn't arrive until April. They are to be looked for in spring about the Wild Tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) or the blossoming agaves in the Botany Garden, on their way south in July.
-Miller, Loye. "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300. Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.