Anna’s Hummingbirds are common along the Californian west coast. I photographed this young male in the grounds of our hotel at Bodega Bay last November. They hover deftly and zip from flower to flower. In the first half of the 20th century, the Anna's Hummingbird bred only in northern Baja California and southern California. The planting of exotic flowering trees provided nectar and nesting sites, and allowed the hummingbird to greatly expand its breeding range northwards. They are at their most splendid when performing their wild courtship dives. A male flies as high as 130 feet in the air and then plummets toward the ground (and the watching female), where he lets loose a unique short high-pitched noise made by air whipping through his tail feathers. As courtship progresses, the male chases a receptive female, who leads him toward her nest site, and perches again. The male then performs a “shuttle display,” where he swings back and forth about a foot above the female, keeping his body horizontal and his head down toward the female, often singing an intense song. When males are not feeding or performing, they often sit fairly high in a bush or small tree, noisily chattering. Males and females do not form pairs, and both sexes likely mate with more than one individual per season. Only the females care for the young.
Anna's Hummingbird John N Murphy