Hummingbird Study | July 17, 2018

Walking through the forest in and around Aspen, it is not unusual to hear the loud, high-pitched vibration of a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird whizzing past. The males of this species have specialized primary feathers that taper out and away from its body to create this sound, announcing its presence while aggressively defending its territory. The Broad-tailed “hummer” is commonly-recognized as our resident species, but is actually one of four hummingbird species that can be found in the Roaring Fork Valley. 

The smaller, orange Rufous Hummingbird passes through these high mountains during their fall migration. Nesting in the Pacific Northwest, they arrive to the Roaring Fork Valley in July before continuing South. 

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are silent flyers, and it is their flashy purple throat contrasting their black heads that make them stand out. In recent years, with a changing climate, they have been nesting higher in the valley. 

The fourth species is the tiny Calliope Hummingbird, with a wingspan of just 3-3.5 inches.

It is a truly magical experience to have hummingbirds whirring all around, and this is exactly what we were able to experience during Morning Birding* this past week.

- Images and words by ACES Naturalist Samantha Stovall.

*To learn more about ACES Morning Birding program, click here. ACES' next birding outing will take place next Tuesday, July 31st at Hallam Lake. We also invite you to join us for the launch of ACES Naturalist and birder extraordinaire, Rebecca Weiss's new book, "Birds of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley" this evening (Wednesday, July 25th) at 6PM at Hallam Lake. 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird in flight.
Black-chinned Hummingbird near feeder.


 Rufous Hummingbird observed during ACES' Morning Birding class.


Calliope Hummingbird, the smallest species found in the Roaring Fork Valley.

 


Participants in ACES' Morning Birding class on July 17th.