A few weeks of summer still remain, but as we open September and head into the Labor Day weekend, it has Fall on the minds of many.
September also brings to Iowa what the Cedar Rapids Gazette calls a "rare find" that nature and wildlife buffs will be on the lookout closely to see. Have your camera ready and your eyes on the sky (when it's safe) to see if you can spot the rufous hummingbird.
The first time one of these orange-tinged species was reportedly observed in Iowa was back in July of 1986. It was noted five more times in the following decade including a rare female in 1995, and only on a dozen other occasions in the 25 years after that. Only two of these sightings were in Cedar Rapids. Yet another was just this past August 12, signaling that it's time for these birds to be ready for their closeup in Iowa. Have your camera ready.
What makes the rufous hummingbird stand out?
Again, the Gazette says it's in the color. Adult male rufous hummingbirds are almost entirely orange, with a reddish-brown face, with a few having a green back. Conversely, almost all adult females have the green back. Young males have a completely rufous tail, which is partially rufous (reddish-brown) and mostly green in females. (As I was just telling my boss earlier this week, I am a little colorblind, so if you're like me, these descriptions may not help, but you can certainly notice its appearance from the picture.)
They're on their way now, but November is the best time to see them
You can help attract the rufous hummingbird simply by putting up a hummingbird feeder. Their window of migration here spans five months, with November being the peak, as they are used to colder temperatures. There are even more rare species you can observe with the bird feeder out this fall, including Mexican violetear, Anna’s, and broad-billed hummingbirds, buff-bellied, calliope, and Allen’s hummingbirds. The Gazette lists several bird-watching events in the coming months.