Most of us start watching birds close to home, at a window or in our backyard. One more way to see more birds is to make your home and backyard more attractive to them. The key is to provide the basic necessities for birds: food, water, and shelter.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Mark Szantyr from Surfbirds Galleries
The commonest hummingbird across most of the eastern US is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. As you head west, the diversity of hummingbird species increase, climaxing with a dizzying array of beauties fighting each other at feeders in southeast Arizona.
Below is a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This small green and white hummingbird is the only species found across most of the eastern US.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Steve Metz from Surfbirds Galleries
In California, the commonest hummingbird is the Anna's Hummingbird (below). It looks very similar to a Ruby-throated Hummingbird (which is not found in California) but the male has a bright pinkish purple forehead.
Anna's Hummingbird by Steve Metz from Surfbirds Galleries
When it catches the light, the male's throat feathers are very striking.
Anna's Hummingbird by Kirk Zufelt from Surfbirds Galleries
As you head out to the deserts of California, Costa's Hummingbirds can be encountered. Look out for the male's purplish-blue sword-like throat feathers.
Costa's Hummingbird by Birdseekers from Surfbirds Galleries
Broad-tailed Hummingbirds occur across mountain meadows across the western US.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird by Ryan O'Donnell from Surfbirds Galleries
Female Broad-tailed Hummingbirds have buff flanks.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird by Bill Schmoker from Surfbirds Galleries
In California, orange and green hummingbirds are Allen's
Allen's Hummingbird by Mark S. Szantyr from Surfbirds Galleries