The Anna’s Hummingbird was only found in southern California until they began moving north around 1920. They first appeared in Canada on the south coast in the late ’40s, but the first nest wasn’t found until the mid-50s just north of Victoria. There are now at least 500 females nesting in and around Victoria. They have been showing up on the north end of the island in greater numbers over the last few years.
These hummingbirds live year-round on the south coast, it is thought that after the second clutch fledge in late May/early June that some of these birds move into the high country for the mountain flowers. However, they return to the nesting sites on the south coast and around Victoria on Vancouver Island by early fall, where they remain to breed. We have had a pair at our feeders for over a year now, awesome to see them in the winter.
Like the other hummingbirds, their food consists of plant nectar, in addition, they regularly snap up spiders when they can. The movement out of California to Vancouver Island can be directly tied to people leaving feeders out. It is speculated that if the abundant feeders that occur throughout the west coast were removed, Anna’s population would shrink back to its original range of southern California.
On Vancouver Island, Anna’s hummingbird raises two broods, with the first eggs laid in very late January and the second ones in late March. The female selects a site for the nest after she begins to defend a nearby source of nectar. The nest is placed on a horizontal twig or branch at a height of two to 10 meters above the ground. Nests built in winter are usually set in a sheltered spot where there is protection from the weather.
The female builds the nest by alternating between plant down and spider webs. She will shape the structure by pushing the material with her breast while turning frequently. Construction occurs in the early to late morning. Two eggs are laid. Incubation is up to 18 days, with an average of 16 days. Usually, the two eggs will hatch 24 hours apart. Young fledge at around 22 days from hatching. They are cared for by the female for one to two weeks after fledging.