Columbian Humming Bird
My good friend THOMAS NUTTALL, while travelling from the Rocky Mountains toward California, happened to observe on a low oak bush a Humming-bird’s nest on which the female was sitting. Having cautiously approached, he secured the bird with his hat. The male in the meantime fluttered angrily around, but as my friend had not a gun, he was unable to procure it.
The nest, which he has presented to me, is attached to a small branch, and several leaves from a twig issuing from it, which have apparently been bent down for the purpose. It is very small, even for the size of the bird, being an inch and a half in depth, and an inch and a quarter in breadth externally at the mouth, while its internal diameter is ten-twelfths, and its depth eight and a half twelfths. It is of a conical form, and composed of the cottony down apparently of some species of willow, intermixed with scales of catkins and a few feathers, and lined with the same substances. The eggs, two in number, are pure white, of a nearly elliptical form, five-twelfths of an inch long, and three and a quarter twelfths in their greatest breadth.
The figures of the nest and female are taken from the specimens presented to me by Mr. NUTTALL. Those of the male I made from specimens, for the use of which I am indebted to Mr. LODDIGE, of London, whose collection of Humming-birds is unrivalled. This species is the fourth now found within the limits of the United States.
OISEAU-MOUCHE ANNA, Ornismya Anna, Less. Traite d’Ornith., P. 281.
ANNA HUMMING-BIRD, Trochilus Anna, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 238.
Male, 3 10/12, wing, 2 1/12.
Rocky Mountains towards California. Common. Migratory.
Bill long, very slender, cylindrical, slightly depressed at the base, acuminate; upper mandible with the dorsal line straight, the ridge narrow at the base and convex toward the end, the sides convex, the edges overlapping; lower mandible with the angle very long and extremely narrow, the dorsal line slightly decurvate, the tip forming a very slender point. Nostrils basal, linear.
Head of ordinary size, oblong; neck short; body slender. Feet very small; tarsus extremely short, rather stout, feathered more than half-way down; toes small, the lateral equal, the middle toe not much longer, the hind toe a little shorter than the lateral; anterior toes united at the base; claws rather long, stout, arched, compressed, laterally grooved, very acute.
Plumage soft and blended; feathers on the upper part of the head, cheeks, and throat, oblongo-obovate, with their filaments toward the end thickened and flattened, with metallic gloss, those on the sides of the neck more elongated. Wings rather long, extremely narrow, somewhat falcate; the primaries rapidly graduated, the first being longest; the number of quills sixteen. Tail of moderate length, emarginate and rounded.
Bill and feet black. The compact feathers of the head, cheeks, and throat are blood-red, changing to gold, and having a tinge of blue; the upper parts light gold-green; the quills and tail-feathers dusky brown; the lower parts brownish-white.
Length to end of tail 3 10/12 inches; bill along the ridge 10/12; wing from flexure 2 1/12; tail 1 1/4; tarsus 2/12; hind toe (1 1/2)/12, its claw (1 1/4)/12; middle toe (2 1/2)/12, its claw (1 1/2)/12.
The female differs from the male in several respects. The tail is rounded, without emargination; the metallic feathers are reduced to an irregular patch on the throat; the upper part of the head and the cheeks are greenish-grey, the upper parts glossy green as in the male, the wings dusky, the middle tail-feathers green, the rest greenish-grey at the base, black toward the end, with the tip white; the lower parts dull grey, the sides tinged with green.
Length to end of tail 3 9/12 inches; bill along the ridge (9 1/4)/12; wing from flexure 2; tail 1 1/4.
For more on this species, see its entry in the Birds of North America Field Guide.