There are 7 Hummingbirds in Washington state. The most commonly sighted is the Anna's hummingbird, who is a year-round resident. Seasonal visitors include the rufous, black-chinned, calliope, costa's, and ruby-throated hummingbirds, all of which have also been seen in this area.
There are over 260 species of hummingbirds spread throughout North and South America! Washington state is a particularly interesting habitat for hummingbirds as its predominantly on the pacific coast – a popular route that hummingbirds often take when migrating.
When talking about how much time hummingbirds in Washington State spend in one place, we can generally split them into three categories: resident or year-round species, seasonal species, and rare/accidental species. The Anna’s hummingbirds are the only residents that are present year-round in Washington State.
Several other species of hummingbirds will migrate through the state north-bound to their breeding grounds in Alaska – such as the rudous hummingbird
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Species of hummingbirds in Washington state
Anna’s hummingbirds (Calypte Anna)
Since Anna’s hummingbirds don’t migrate as much as other hummingbirds (not even close), they usually reside in western Washington year-round. There are common Anna’s Hummingbird sightings in the area of Puget Sound. They’re also residents of southern British Columbia & northern Mexico.
These hummingbirds are bigger than most. Male Anna’s hummingbirds have green and bronze backs and are grey on the belly and chest. Their most impressive feature is their beautiful iridescent red gorget. Females have green and bronze backs and the same greyish belly and chest but lack the impressive gorget. Instead, they have a little red coloring on their necks and white tips on their tail feathers.
They love munching on gooseberries, honeysuckle, and eucalyptus. Anna’s hummingbirds are the most vocal hummingbird around. If they’re nearby, you’ll likely hear their humming.
Rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus Rufus)
Rufous Hummingbirds spend their spring in California and go to Washington, Oregon, and Canada during summer. Coming fall, they head out to the Rocky Mountains. Rufous hummingbirds can nest in areas as far as Alaska. You can frequently see them in Washington when the breeding season begins.
Rufous hummingbirds are smaller and shorter than other hummers but are incredibly fierce. Male Rufous hummingbirds have a rufous (orange) plumage, their chest is white, and their back is green. But the thing that stands out the most is their iridescent orange-red throat. Females have a green back, crown, speckled throat, and a rufous tail feather with white tips.
This is a notoriously migratory bird: Rufous hummingbirds travel about 4000 miles along the Pacific Coast – and they travel this distance twice a year. Rufous hummingbirds are more territorial than other hummingbirds, and they won’t blow out on the chance of attacking other birds that stay too close to their
Black-chinned hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri)
You can see Black-chinned hummingbirds during the summer in Washington. They usually head to Mexico during the winter. They are used to living in a wide range of habitats because they are incredibly adaptable. Thus, they love mountains, canyons, meadows, and urban areas. The Black-chinned hummingbird can sometimes live to be ten years old!
Black-chinned hummingbirds are smaller than other hummingbirds. Male black-chinned hummingbirds have a metallic green back, green and grey heads, a dark tail, a black bill, and a beautiful iridescent purple gorget. Females are duller, with a dark rounded tail, green streaks on their throats, and occasional rufous patches.
You can find Calliope hummingbirds in Washington State from April to May. They spend their winters in Mexico. These hummingbirds breed in the higher elevations of the Rocky Mountains. You can also find them in the Pacific Northwest.
Male Calliope hummingbirds have metallic green backs and a beautiful iridescent magenta crown extending to the sides of the neck. Female hummingbirds look duller, with green and gray crowns. Their plumage is primarily green, white, and gray, but they have dark tail feathers.
They tend to be beaten by other hummingbird species (like the more aggressive Rufous hummingbird), so they stay out of the spotlight most of the time. One reason is that Calliope hummingbirds are the smallest birds in the United States.
Costa’s Hummingbirds can sometimes be seen in Washington and even around Seattle. They are known as desert hummingbirds – inhabiting canyons and loving arid climates. Male Costa’s hummingbirds have green backs, white bellies, a gorgeous iridescent crown, and purple throat patches extending to the sides. Females look duller, with green and gray bodies and white bellies.
The ruby-throated hummingbirds were last spotted in 2017 in Washington State, so they’re considered a rare sighting. However, they are pretty common in North America. Ruby-throated hummingbirds go to Central America over the Gulf of Mexico or Texas during the winter.
Male Ruby-throated hummingbirds have green backs and crowns, gray and white bellies, and beautiful iridescent red throats. Females have a greenback with brown sides, a white belly, and a brown crown.
How to attract hummingbirds in Washington State?
Use Nectar Feeders – Make sure they have enough food sources by placing more nectar feeders in your garden – but make sure they are far apart, to reduce competition for food. Homemade nectar is sugar water made from 1 part white sugar to 4 parts water.
Design a Hummingbird Garden – Plant many native plants so hummingbirds can gather nectar from them. Some examples include bee balm, salvia, trumpet creeper, and columbine. Tubular flowers are perfect for them as they can easily reach the nectar using their long beaks and tongue – thus ensuring they don’t have to compete for food with other pollinators.
Add a Bird Bath – Offer hummingbirds other perks like a birdbath or a sprinkler where they can hang around. Hummers love water!
Clean and maintain your feeder regularly – That means you should change the nectar as often as possible, especially if the temperature outside is hot.
Avoid using pesticides – hummingbirds love that sweet nectar, but they also need some protein. They usually get that by eating small insects like gnats or fruit flies. They often hunt them spider webs or catch them mid-air. For them to have these meals, you must avoid using pesticides that may kill their primary food source.