Vol 2, #6 – The Allen’s Humming Bird

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) for Birds Illustrated

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) for Birds Illustrated

Allens Humming Bird.
From col. F. M. Woodruff. Copyrighted by
Nature Study Pub. Co., 1897, Chicago.



HE Humming birds, with their varied beauties, constitute the most remarkable feature of the bird-life of America. They have absolutely no representatives in any other part of the world, the Swifts being the nearest relatives they have in other countries. Mr. Forbes says that they abound most in mountainous countries, where the surface and productions of the soil are most diversified within small areas. They frequent both open and rare and inaccessible places, and are often found on the snowy peaks of Chimborazo as high as 16,000 feet, and in the very lowest valleys in the primeval forests of Brazil, the vast palm-covered districts of the deltas of the Amazon and Orinoco, the fertile flats and savannahs of Demarara, the luxurious and beautiful region of Xalapa, (the realm of perpetual sunshine), and other parts of Mexico. Many of the highest cones of extinct and existing volcanoes have also furnished great numbers of rare species.

These birds are found as small as a bumble bee and as large as a Sparrow. The smallest is from Jamaica, the largest from Patagonia.

Allen’s Hummer is found on the Pacific coast, north to British Columbia, east to southern Arizona.

Mr. Langille, in “Our Birds in their Haunts,” beautifully describes their flights and manner of feeding. He says “There are many birds the flight of which is so rapid that the strokes of their wings cannot be counted, but here is a species with such nerve of wing that its wing strokes cannot be seen. ‘A hazy semi-circle of indistinctness on each side of the bird is all that is perceptible.’ Poised in the air, his body nearly perpendicular, he seems to hang in front of the flowers which he probes so hurriedly, one after the other, with his long, slender bill. That long, tubular, fork-shaped tongue may be sucking up the nectar from those rather small cylindrical blossoms, or it may be capturing tiny insects housed away there. Much more like a large sphynx moth hovering and humming over the flowers in the dusky twilight, than like a bird, appears this delicate, fairy-like beauty. How the bright green of the body gleams and glistens in the sunlight. Each imperceptible stroke of those tiny wings conforms to the mechanical laws of flight in all their subtle complications with an ease and gracefulness that seems spiritual. Who can fail to note that fine adjustment of the organs of flight to aerial elasticity and gravitation, by which that astonishing bit of nervous energy can rise and fall almost on the perpendicular, dart from side to side, as if by magic, or, assuming the horizontal position, pass out of sight like a shooting star? Is it not impossible to conceive of all this being done by that rational calculation which enables the rower to row, or the sailor to sail his boat?”

“What heavenly tints in mingling radiance fly,
Each rapid movement gives a different dye;
Like scales of burnished gold they dazzling show,
Now sink to shade, now like a furnace glow.”



ALLEN’S HUMMING BIRD.Selasphorus alleni.

Range—Pacific coast, north to British Columbia, east to southern Arizona.

Nest—Plant down, covered with lichens.

Eggs—Two, white.

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©USFWS

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©USFWS

Lee’s Addition:

I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind. (Psalms 50:11 AMP)

Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. (Job 40:10 KJV)

Hummingbirds are very special to me and this Allen’s Hummingbird is no exception. I am always amazed at how the Lord created all these fantastic birds. They are so small, compared to most other birds. There little feet are a delight to see. They belong to the Trochilidae – Hummingbirds Family which has 341 species currently.

The Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) is a species of hummingbird. The Allen’s Hummingbird is a small bird, with mature adults reaching only 3 to 3½ inches (75 to 90 mm) in length. The male Allen’s has a green back and forehead, with rust-colored rufous flanks, rump, and tail. The male’s throat is also an iridescent orange-red. The female and immature Allen’s Hummingbirds are similarly colored, but lack the iridescent throat patch, instead having a series of speckles on their throat. Females are mostly green, featuring rufous colors only on the tail, which also has white tips. The immature Allen’s Hummingbirds are so similar to the female Rufous Hummingbird that the two are almost indistinguishable in the field. Both species’ breeding seasons and ranges are common factors used to differentiate between the two species in a particular geographical area. They belong to the Trochilidae – Hummingbirds  Family which has 341 species currently.

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) at flower ©WikiC

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) at flower ©WikiC

The Allen’s Hummingbird is common only in the brushy woods, gardens, and meadows of coastal California from Santa Barbara north, and a minuscule portion of lower Oregon. The nominate race of Allen’s Hummingbird is migratory, and winters along the Pacific coast of central Mexico. A second race is a permanent resident on the Channel Islands off southern California. (“It has a longer wing, tail, and bill“) This population colonized the Palos Verdes Peninsula of Los Angeles County in the 1960s and has since spread over much of Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

The courtship flight of the male Allen’s Hummingbird is a frantic back and forth flight arc of about 25 feet (7.5 m) similar to the motion of a swinging pendulum, followed by a high-speed dive from about 100 feet (30 m). The male is also highly aggressive and territorial. Hot-tempered despite its diminutive stature, a male Allen’s Hummingbird will chase any other males from its territory, as well as any other hummingbird species, and they have even been known to attack and rout predatory birds several times larger than themselves such as kestrels and hawks.

The Allen’s Hummingbird constructs its nest out of plant fibers, down, and weed stems, coating the nest with lichens to give it structure. The nest is placed above ground on a tree branch or the stalk or stem of a plant. The female lays two white eggs, which she will incubate for 15 to 17 days. The young will leave the nest about three weeks after hatching. The mother will continue to feed the fledglings for several more weeks, then the young are left to fend for themselves.

Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©WikiC

Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) ©WikiC


Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

The above article is an article in the monthly serial for October 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited


(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources, with editing)

Next Article – The Green-winged Teal

The Previous Article – The English Sparrow

Wordless Birds


Allen’s Hummingbird – Wikipedia

Allen’s Hummingbird – All About Birds

Allen’s Hummingbird – Hummingbirds Net

Allen’s Hummingbird – WhatBird


One thought on “Vol 2, #6 – The Allen’s Humming Bird

  1. Pingback: USA: flowers for hummingbirds and moths | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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