natural sightings 510

Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) was found at a home in Stallion Springs.

Ron Thompson submitted this photo of what appears to be a female (or immature) Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) that they found at their home in Stallion Springs. Ron set the tiny bird in a flower pot for the night and the next morning it drank nectar from their hummingbird feeder and flew away.

Anna's are the most common species of hummingbird encountered in the Tehachapi Mountains, as well as the largest, though they still don't weigh any more than a nickel.

Hummingbirds are no strangers to being cold — while their daytime body temperature may be about 107 degrees F, at night their temperature drops much lower, even down to 48 degrees. This reduces their metabolism to as low as 1/50th of daytime levels. They enter this nightly torpor because their normal metabolism is so high, they would literally starve to death in their sleep overnight if they didn't reduce it. Hummingbirds also have no down feathers to help keep them warm, so their only option at night is to enter into a kind of mini-hibernation.

Anna's are one of the bird species that have benefitted from the love humans have for gardening and landscaping — while they used to be limited to Southern California and Baja, Anna's Hummingbirds have greatly expanded their range thanks to nectar-producing ornamental trees, shrubs and other flowering plants. As well as the sugar water offerings provided by tens of thousands of hummingbird feeders.

The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Paiute) name for hummingbird is mutanapizhi, which is pronounced moo-tah-nah-PIZH-eh, which literally translated means "just a little man."

NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: editorial@tehachapinews.com.