Some Say 14 and Others Say 18

The are somewhere between 14 and 18 different varieties of hummingbirds that senior citizens will find in Arizona. Southeast Arizona is a premier location for sighting hummingbirds. And a one-day record for the most hummingbird species seen in a day in the United States – fourteen – was set in the Sierra Vista, Arizona area.

Historically, these tiny flying jewels begin to arrive in mid-March and leave by early October. Peak months for the greatest number of hummingbirds and species sighted are May and August.

When I was in Ecuador I could not believe the size of hummingbirds. You will not believe this, but they actually were the size of a full-grown robin. HUGE! Over 330 species are known to science. All are found only in the Western Hemisphere, and the vast majority live in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Almost half of the known species have been reported from Ecuador.

Senior Birder’s Premier Destination

If senior travelers have a particular place in their heart for hummingbirds, southern Arizona harbors an ideal getaway. The Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve is a pristine sanctuary tucked in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona. The preserve is home to nearly all of the hummingbird species known to visit the United States, fourteen of them in all and among them the Anna’s: magnificent, black-chinned, long billed, white-eared, and rufous varieties.

No other public spot in the country offers such a wealth of hummingbirds, as well as 150 other species of birds, making it one of the country’s premier birding destinations. The World of Hummingbirds will provide interested seniors with information on the feeding, life, babies and more.   This site is also over flowing with interesting facts on hummers.

Why southeast  Arizona? Here’s why.  Southern AZ Bird Observatory has additional information on hummingbirds noting guided bird walks, tours and educational workshops.  You can learn about banding hummers as well as SABO recommendations. On your way to southern AZ, pick up this book (A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America). This site features a hummer survey in Arizona.

 Where to “bird” in AZ will be helpful for seniors who want to know where all the other species can be found.  And these sites offer more information for senior birders: bird watching toursbird watching destinationsbird watching vacations.

So take a senior birding vacation in Sierra Vista Bring your binoculars and get ready to enjoy thousands of hummers.  jeb


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