This is exactly why you let the purple sprouting broccoli go to flower.
This is an Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna), one of the most common (and yet, not at all “common”) hummingbirds in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve seen them in my garden year-round.
“No larger than a ping-pong ball and no heavier than a nickel,” says the uber-informative All About Birds, the website of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
They share more fascinating hummingbird facts:
- Mostly green and grey, the male’s “gorget,” or throat patch, can shine with iridescent pink colors in the right sunlight. The color can extend over the bird’s entire head.
- The males have a characteristic small white spot behind the eye.
- During mating season, the males have a “dive display” in which they rise to 130 feet, then plummet down in a matter of seconds, stopping to hover a few feet in front of the object of their display.
- Sometimes a bee or wasp will get impaled on the sharp beak of the bird, causing it to starve to death.
- Their normal body temperature is about 107 degrees, but when it’s cold, they can go into “torpor” where their breathing and heart rate slows, and their temperature drops to 48.
- They have tiny legs and can’t really walk or hop, but they can sort of scoot sideways when perched.