hummingbirds in Maryland

Hummingbirds in Maryland: Top 6 with Pictures for You to Identify

The great state of Maryland is described by many as “America in miniature” and it truly shows.

With a wide variety of environments, the inviting landscapes bring in all kinds of beautiful birds and creatures to the region.

Winter is finally dissipating, and with Spring blooming, a plethora of spectacular birds start to make their way through the state.

And while you’ll be on the lookout for beauties like the American goldfinch and the American robin, it’s usually the hummingbirds who are the stars of the show.

These tiny creatures are amazing, and you won’t need to look far to find them. Some are so friendly that they’ll even show up as close as your backyard.

You might be thinking to yourself, “What kinds of hummingbirds are there?”, or “What’s the difference between them?”, don’t worry we got you covered.

If you’re living in Maryland or just visiting this spring, we brought you everything you need to know about all the hummingbirds in the area, from the most common to the rare.

The 6 Common & Rare Hummingbirds in Maryland

1.   Ruby-throated Hummingbird

ruby throated hummingbird feeding
  • Scientific name: Archilochus colubris
  • Length: 2.8 to 3.5 inches (7 to 9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.071 to 0.212 oz (2 to 6 g)
  • Wingspan: 3.1 to 4.3 inches (8 to 11 cm)
  • The bird’s commonality in the region: Common

A gorgeous, yet common hummingbird is finally making its arduous journey from Mexico to North America favoring the US’s eastern coast.

They travel all the way up to the north as they look for nesting and breeding areas, favoring states like Maryland for its great forests, swamps, and flower-filled backyards.

These little creatures are called the Ruby-throated hummingbird, they’re the most common in the area. And if anyone looks outside between the months of April and September are likely to catch a glimpse of them.

With time, these small creatures decided to adapt to humans coming into their own backyards, and now have no problems making nests on roofs of buildings, trees in backyards, and more.

They’ve integrated themselves, trusting humans in the process thanks to feeders and inviting flowers within their domain.

Author Note: Their name comes from their gorgeous appearance, as the males of their species have an impressive ring of feathers around their necks hued ruby-red.

On the other hand, the females don’t share the same characteristic, but they both have the same green coat covering their backs and shoulders like rusty armor.

Looking royal as ever, they’re some of the friendliest and easiest to attract to backyards, as they’re always on the lookout for tube-shaped nectar-filled flowers and red feeders.

2.   Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird in maryland
  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus rufus
  • Length: 2.8 to 3.5 inches (7 to 9 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 oz (2 to 5 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)
  • The bird’s commonality in the region: Less common

Although they usually dwell and migrate to the west coast of the USA, the Rufous hummingbirds, like to make an appearance on the opposite coast just in case.

Maryland is no strange land to them as they have the second most sightings in the area,

With fire in their hearts, they’re bold and gutsy critters, managing to hold their own against any other hummingbirds in a fight over food.

That fire is also visible in their visage, as the males have a fiery copper coat complimented by glittery throats that shine when seen in the right lighting conditions.

On the flip side, the females have more of a greenish coat contrasted by rusty-ish patches, making them easy to differentiate from the males.

You might want to be wary of these ones, as they have an incredible memory of places they’ve been to, so if you made a friend, they might show up again.

The Rufous hummingbirds, thankfully, can be seen in different parts of Maryland, with the last spotting being back in February.

3.   Calliope Hummingbird

Calliope Hummingbird hovering
  • Scientific name: Selasphorus calliope
  • Length: 2.8 to 3.9 inches (7 to 10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.071 to 0.106 oz (2 to 3 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)
  • The bird’s commonality in the region: Extremely rare

They’re by far the smallest bird in the USA, but don’t let their small size deceive you because they have big personalities.

Extremely rare to spot on the east coast, the Calliope hummingbird can still appear from time to time in Maryland.

The last sighting in Maryland was in January this year, so there’s still hope for more to come.

Calliope hummingbirds are avid travelers looking for areas to nest and breed, they make their way up the west coast reaching as far as western Canada. Yet there are some who find their way to Maryland.

Top Tip: Magenta is the color of the day for the males of these species, as it patters their throats branching off to their sides.

Contradicting them are the females, who have a rather peach-colored belly along with random green feathers near their necks.

While they differ in neck decorations, they share the same rustic green color of their coat, which dims to blackish wings.

Elegant in their flight, and persistent in protecting their territories during the breeding season, they deserve the name they got which was inspired by the muse of eloquence.

4.   Black-chinned Hummingbird

black chinned hummingbird flying
  • Scientific name: Archilochus alexandri
  • Length: 3.25 inches (8.25 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 oz (2.3 to 4.9 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)
  • The bird’s commonality in the region: Rare

Unfortunately, Black-chinned hummingbirds are very rare to see in Maryland, they only appear in small patches within the state.

However, there was a sighting back in November of last year, bringing hope for hummingbird enthusiasts in the area.

Author Note: The Black-chinned hummingbird is quite a bewildering creature. The males, again, get a unique feature in the form of a distinct and reflective purple throat.

Those purple feathers are then covered with black ones just under their beaks, hence the name.

Females, however, have a plain throat but are usually bigger in size. Both genders share the same metallic green feathers that turn greyish white near their bellies.

Unlike other hummingbirds, these ones aren’t lured in by the color red, so you’ll find them on other flowers with distinct colors as long as there’s nectar in them.

5.   Allen’s Hummingbird

allens hummingbird resting
  • Scientific Name: Selasphorus sasin
  • Length: 3 to 3.5 inches (76 to 89 mm)
  • Weight: 0.1 oz (2 to 3 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.3 inches (11 cm)
  • The bird’s commonality in the region: Very rare

Last spotted back in 2018 in Maryland, they haven’t been in the area for quite some time.

It can be hard to distinguish Allen’s hummingbirds sometimes since they share similar colors with the Rufous variants.

Both creatures zip around a lot and things can get a little confusing but it’s the subtle things that differentiate them from each other.

The tiny males have a brighter orange tint throughout and not the copper one that’s seen on their Rufous cousins.

That orange color is also complemented by a dull-green back, which is also different from the Rufous birds that have a coppery-brown back.

The males also sport a bright-orange throat while the females have a green speckled one.

6.   Anna’s Hummingbird

annas hummingbird in maryland
  • Scientific name: Calypte anna
  • Length:  3.9 inches (10 cm)
  • Weight: 0.1 to 0.2 oz (3 to 6 g)
  • Wingspan: 4.7 inches (12 cm)
  • The bird’s commonality in the region: Almost never

These are very rare to see in the area, with the last sighting dating as far back as 2010, so it wouldn’t be strange if they never show up.

Anna’s Hummingbird is a stunning creature, especially when seen for the first time.

Like their Black-chinned cousins, males and females of the species share the same metallic green feathers that turn greyish white near their bellies.

Top Tip: The males like the rest on the list are a little bit different, adorned with pinkish-emerald feathers on their neck, going as far as their head.

Contradictory, the ladies have a greyish throat, with the green feathers on its body reaching its head.

In one of their unique courtship display, males fly up to 130 feet (40 m) in the air and do a diving maneuver creating a certain noise with their tail feathers in an effort to attract a mate.

When Should I Expect Hummingbirds In Maryland?

Each hummingbird has their own breeding season, that being said, the most common one that will be seen is the Ruby-throated hummingbird as it’s the only one that nests and breeds on the east coast.

They migrate through the area looking for homes, places to nest, and breed starting at the end of March, all the way through spring, and will most likely leave sometime in September.

Other hummingbirds fly around during that same time period but will most likely be on the west coast.

How Can I lure Hummingbirds For a Closer Look?

These tiny birds are friendly and beautiful in every sense of the word. And with their tiny wings flapping so fast, it’s definitely a different experience to see them up close.

We want bird lovers to be able to appreciate them too. So we picked some ways to help make peoples’ backyards become more inviting for migrating and breeding hummingbirds in the area.

The More Flowers, The Better

Hummingbirds have an amazing ability to distinguish colors and are usually attracted to bright colorful flowers, which is their natural source for nectar (food).

Author Note: Flowers that stand out and are native to the area are going to be your best choice. But don’t focus on one color though, as, similar to humans and their food, hummingbirds like to have options.

Focus on ones with the colors orange, yellow, and red, as they’re usually attracted to them the most.

Needs Some Elbow Grease

While beautiful, the issue that comes up from this method is that these flowers need to be maintained.

It’s both a blessing and a curse! You’ll have to keep your gardening skills sharp to make sure they’re pretty and healthy to attract hummingbirds.

Something else that needs your attention is that flowers can also attract other insects, ranging from mosquitoes and ants to bees and wasps.

Poolside

Since it’s spring and the sun is out, hummingbirds, like other birds in the wild, love taking a dip in the water especially if it’s hot.

Adding a small birdbath in your backyard is not a bad idea, because it offers a place for the hummingbirds to cool off, and have a sip to drink.

Not Only Birds!

Birdbaths are a source of water, so all kinds of creatures, not only hummingbirds might find it attractive.

Birds and visitors of all kinds, shapes, and sizes will try and take advantage of it being there.

Build It and They Will Come

Maybe you don’t want to do all that effort and plant those flowers, maybe you don’t have a big backyard, don’t fret because there’s another method to attract them to your place.

A man-made alternative might be the best solution for you, and that comes in the shape of feeders.

A hummingbird feeder is a large contraption that’s filled with nectar and hung in your backyard to attract the tiny birds and feed them at the same time.

The contraption has flower-shaped holes near the bottom, small enough for the hummingbirds to stick their beaks in them and get the sweet liquid.

How Do I Make the Nectar Solution?

  1. Mix one cup of sugar with four cups of water.
  2. Keep stirring until sugar completely dissolves in the water.
  3. Do NOT add any red dye to the solution.
  4. Put the sugar-water solution in the feeder.
  5. Hang the feeder in a safe and shaded location.

Problems That Might Show Up

Nectar is a great source of food for hummingbirds, but there are other creatures that like it too, so they might make an effort to reach the feeder.

So here are some precautions that you might need to take into consideration when getting a feeder:

  • Buying a feeder with a bee-guard. This will stop them from coming into the feeder and annoying the hummingbirds.
  • An “ant moat” is usually another thing you should consider, as it protects the nectar, keeping it safe for hummingbirds to feed on.
  • You need to change the nectar before it ferments and turns cloudy. Because it’s toxic for the tiny birds.
  • Cats in the area might take notice of the small birds sitting on the feeder, making them easy prey, so put the feeder in places that would be hard for the cats to attack.

Final Words

Hummingbirds are a true sight to behold and are worth the effort of attracting them to your home to admire. They are definitely a unique creature to watch, unlike other birds out in the wild.

If you want to go out on your own adventure and look for the tiny flyers yourself you can check out Maryland’s Cranesville Subarctic Swamp, Sandy Point State Park, and the Patuxent Wildlife Refuge! We hope you enjoyed our write up on common hummingbirds in Maryland.

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