Humming in the Ballona Wetlands

March 04, 2017  •  1 Comment

Always delighted to spot a Hummingbird, I became even more interested after reading Terry Masear’s book Fastest Thing on Wings. In it, she describes how she and a small band of folks steadfastly rescue hurt and orphaned hummingbirds in the greater Los Angeles area, which intensifies during breeding season.  Her organization and their dedication and knowledge have helped reverse the trend of plummeting populations of Hummingbirds in the LA area.  The stories in her book give wondrous examples of the influence urban wildlife can have on urban dwellers and vice versa, enriching all involved.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know the following hummingbirds neighbors who call the Ballona Wetlands home. 

Did You Know:

  • Many types of hummingbirds use spider webs for some of their nesting materials. Fun Fact:  The nests stretch as the babies grow!
  • Hummingbirds are expected to lose vast amounts of their range over the next 60 years. Climate change creates imbalances in temperature and migratory bird timing, and scientists say hummingbirds, which are important wildflower pollinators in North America and food pollinators in tropical regions, are particularly vulnerable. A warming climate can alter when flowers bloom. This earlier blooming can create a mismatch between hummingbird arrival and flowers, which they suck nectar from throughout the day to stay alive. Hummingbirds' ability to adapt remains to be seen.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbirds are common year-round in the Wetlands.  They are found year-round along the Pacific Coast, from southern Canada to northern Baja Mexico.  Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a good photo of these red-crowned hummingbirds.

Allen’s Hummingbird

Climate endangered. The Allen’s Hummingbird, a mostly rust-colored bird that breeds in southern Oregon and coastal California, is projected to lose 90 percent of its current breeding range by 2080.   Most of the So. Cal population winters as far south as southern Mexico. Moves north up the Pacific Coast in late winter.

Black Chinned Hummingbird

The Black-Chinned Hummingbird winters in Mexico and breeds from British Columbia throughout the Western US to Mexico.

Rufous Hummingbird

The Rufous Hummingbird, who migrate 3,900 miles from Mexico to Alaska are crucial pollinators, mostly of wildflowers when they’re in North America. However, in South America, hummingbirds are important pollinators of tropical food crops such as bananas, papaya and nutmeg, per an Audubon report.  NOTE:  Rufous breed is often very hard to distinguish from juvenile and female Allen’s breed.  These photos might be Allen’s Hummingbirds.

Learn More:

Go to Hummingbird Rescue, Los Angeles’ website: http://www.losangeleshummingbirdrescue.org/

Do more:

Become a citizen scientist and report when and where you see hummingbirds in your neighborhood. Download and regularly use these apps to identify species and report your sightings:

  • Cornell Lab’s Merlin
  • eBird app
  • Hummingbirds at Home

Scientists use your data to determine if the birds are having trouble year-round.

Recommended Reading:

Fastest Thing on Wings, Rescuing Hummingbirds in Hollywood, by Terry Masear, 2015

 

 

 

 

 


Comments

Ruth Whitehawk Gonzales(non-registered)
Awesome pics and information! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and knowledge!!!
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