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Allen’s Hummingbird CHAPTER 4 Getting Started In 1937, a man named Frank Bené moved to Phoenix, Arizona for health reasons, and it was there, over the next several years, that he developed an interest in ornithology that resulted in a work that can only be described as a truly remarkable piece of amateur naturalism. In his book The Feeding and Related Behavior of Hummingbirds with Special Reference to the Black-chin, published as Volume 9, Number 3, of the Memoirs of the Boston Society of Natural History, Bené describes, with the aid of charming accompanying diagrams, two hummingbird gardens that he maintained at two separate residences that he had in Phoenix from 1939 until 1942.

Here the stream ran almost under our cabin; and here we often heard the loud buzzing of the Blue-throated Hummingbird or observed its direct and rapid flight, as it whizzed by our doorway along the stream. ” Two other southeastern Arizona favorites, the Magnificent and Broad-billed Hummingbirds, overlap in much of the Blue-throated’s range, which also includes southern New Mexico and western Texas. In March of 2003, I visited not only Ramsey Canyon but the adjacent Miller Canyon, and I was impressed with the variety of hummingbird species that utilized the hummingbird feeders at these locations.

As we can see, Bartholomew’s Cobble provides everything that the Ruby-throated Hummingbird needs to survive and breed successfully: ample protection for the nest, plenty of flowers loaded with nectar, and a pleasant climate. But hummingbird lives are a lot more complicated and diverse than you might think, in spite of their diminutive size—or perhaps because of it. Understanding the keys to the hummingbird’s physical makeup, energy requirements, and behavior patterns will help you provide for these birds and make a home for them in your garden.

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