Types of Birds
Hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) occupy habitat as diverse as the three hundred or so documented species.
Most of these New World birds easily adapt to any yard or natural setting in North, Central or South America that offers them adequate food, water and shelter.
Coastal areas, deserts, riparian forests and alpine meadows provide familiar territory to at least one species. In many areas, multiple species compete for the available food and water supplies.
In addition to the existence of multiple species in a single habitat, many hummingbird species adapt to multiple habitats. They winter in warmer latitudes and fly north or south to temperate summer climates for breeding, depending, of course, on which side of the equator they call home.
The Rufous Hummingbird, for example, breeds as far north as Alaska. Black-chinned hummingbirds to breeding in western desert and mountain areas.
Hummingbird statistics differ slightly, depending on the source. Either sixteen or seventeen different breeding species inhabit North American territory. Texas and Arizona lead the United States in hummingbird species diversity.
Western North America provides prime habitat for native hummingbirds. Traditionally the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is identified as the only breeding hummingbird species of the East Coast.
Southeast stay at home birders' life lists need not look totally hummingbird deficient. Often migrating hummingbird species lose their way or detour through Southeast states during migration.
Because adult hummingbirds feed primarily on nectar, landscaping for them can be as easy as planting their favorite native flowering plants.
Research at the University of British Columbia shows that hummingbirds have a good memory. Therefore, once attracted to a yard, the odds of their returning, year after year, increases.
They make great guests and their curiosity often translates into keeping the land owners company during regular visits to flowering bushes.
Additional research tentatively demonstrates a hummingbird's propensity to be a creature of dietary habitat. Some species can be totally or partially dependent on specific flowers as food sources. Consequently, any particular species' habitat depends on whether their flower food source(s) grows at high altitudes only, low altitudes only, or a combination of both.
© 2007-2011 Patricia A. Michaels