The Anna’s Hummingbird is not about to ignore a cornucopia of nectar like the Pride of Madeira (Echium candicans) on the south edge of the park. Anna’s are the hummingbird we see most frequently in the area, and they were the steadiest visitors to this blooming bush while I was watching. The male, above, flashed like a neon light above and among the flower heads, and seconds later was gone again. The more modestly feathered female, below, came separately and stayed longer.
Male and female Anna’s lead separate lives. They come together only for courtship, where the male does a spectacular high dive lasting about 12 seconds, and copulation, which lasts from 3 to 5 seconds. The female builds the nest, using spiderweb silk to tie it together. She alone broods the eggs and feeds the chicks. Male and female don’t form pairs, and are promiscuous. Anna’s is one of the few species that has benefited from human settlement. Widespread planting of flowering exotic plants (such as this Echium candicans) in suburban gardens and parks is credited with helping these birds expand their range northward from a small region on the California/Mexico border all the way up the West Coast into British Columbia and east into Arizona.
Just for fun here are some more photos of Anna’s in the Echium bush: