Arizona has more species of hummingbirds than any other state in the United States – probably because of its proximity to Mexico, where most hummingbirds winter.
Strangely, a hummingbird called a Violet Crowned Hummingbird, normally found in Arizona, may have found its way to Virginia. I was discussing hummingbirds with my friend, Wayne Ferguson, and admitted that a few weeks back I had seen the biggest hummingbird ever at my feeder. At that point he said he had a friend who was visited by a Violet Crowned Hummingbird (VCR), one of the largest hummers and normally a summertime resident of Arizona. Seemingly, the hummingbird set his GPS on the wrong wave-length and flew to Virginia.
The VCR is a relatively newcomer north of the border, so he may not yet have his boundaries set in stone. The Audubon Society says that this good-sized hummingbird was not found nesting in the U.S. until 1959. It is now uncommon but regular in summer in a few sites in southeastern Arizona and extreme southwestern New Mexico. In places where flowers are not abundant, the Violet Crowned Hummingbird may be discovered flying about or hovering in the shady middle levels of tall trees, catching small insects in flight.
How and why these interesting creatures may have ended up in Virginia is anybody’s guess. I really couldn’t tell if my visitor had a “violet crown”, the sun was behind the bird, but there is no doubt it was the largest hummingbird – by far – I have ever seen. The other birder made a positive identification.
I have not seen our large guest in a few weeks, so he may have moved on, to where, who knows?
Anybody else out there see any large hummingbirds? Maybe they’ll ultimately become Virginians.