I learned some new things about hummingbirds this week. First, I learned that for years now, I have had two types of hummingbirds coming to my feeders.
I knew that I had broad-tailed hummers — they are the most common hummingbirds in the Western US. With a flashy red throat “gorget” and a metallic ringing sound when they zip by, it’s easy to know that they’re around.
But this week I discovered that I have even more delightful hummers visiting — a family of calliope hummingbirds.
Calliope hummingbirds are the smallest hummers in North America. The male isn’t as showy as his larger cousin. He has purple streaks on his throat instead of a red gorget.
Both sexes of calliope hummers have the charming habit of flicking their tails as they hover.
And they seem to like to flick out their tongues after they have fed.
But the final thing that I learned about hummingbirds this week is that they have eyelashes.