Only 3 different hummingbird species have been reported in Pennsylvania …
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) – Native Breeders. Usually arrive in April for the breeding season and depart for their wintering grounds in late September or possibly early October.
The most commonly seen hummingbird in Virginia. Males usually arrive in mid-April, and the females usually follow in May. They usually leave the state in September to return to their wintering ranges. Most (if not all) hummers are gone by October.
Migrating males are usually the first to arrive and the first to depart. The females and the young usually follow about two weeks later.
The male has a ruby-red throat, a white collar, an emerald green back and a forked tail.
The female has a green back and tail feathers that are banded white, black and grey-green.
Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) – Regular visitor
These hummingbirds are usually found in gardens and at feeders. These birds are fearless, and are known for chasing away other hummingbirds and even larger birds, or rodents away from their favorite nectar feeders and flowers.
Males can easily be identified by their glossy orange-red throats.
Females have whitish, speckled throats, green backs and crowns, and rufous, white-tipped tail feathers.
Female Ruby-throated resemble the Rufous females. However, the female Rufous can be identified by the green feathers that cover her back and crown (top of the head).
Males also look alike, but they can be identified by their different throat colors (ruby-red in the Ruby-throated and orange-red in the Rufous. The male Ruby-throated also has a slightly forked tail (not pointed as it is the case in the Rufous).
The Ruby-throated is a little smaller than the Rufous Hummingbird).
Calliope Hummingbirds, Stellula calliope – Rare / Accidental
Is it a Hummingbird or an Insect?
The Hawk Moths (often referred to as “Hummingbird Moth”) is easily confused with hummingbirds, as they have similar feeding and swift flight patterns. These moths also hover in midair while they feed on nectar.
Moths have a couple of sensors or “antennas” on top of the head, which are key identifiers.
If you see a hummingbird that doesn’t appear to be any of the above, please e-mail comments / images to: [email protected]. Thanks!
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