Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird - Stellula calliope
At 3.25 inches and 25 grams, the Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in Canada. There are three hummingbirds who regularly visit my garden. The Rufous (3.75 inches) and the Ruby-throated (3.75 inches) are noticeably bigger.

In Greek mythology, Calliope (pronounced ka-LIE-o-pee), the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, was the muse of epic poetry and the inspiration for Homer's Odyssey and the Iliad.
Louise and I enjoyed several days of active Shuttle Display in the garden last weekend. These hummingbirds fly back in forth in a shallow horizontal curve at various heights up to 30 to 40 meters. We witnessed short shuttles at modest heights toward the top of a tree and wider shuttles well above the tree tops.
Calliope Hummingbirds migrate up to 8900 km every year!
The wings beat 55 to 75 times per second and without excellent light to allow a very fast shutter speed, the wings are usually just a blur.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

No comments: