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Hummingbirds on the South Coast

by Sophie Grahek

Along the coastal forests of the South Coast of Oregon, a delicate dance unfolds between the vibrant hummingbirds and the native plants that adorn the landscape. This enchanting interaction between these small avian wonders and the flora native to the region is a testament to the intricate balance of nature and the vital role each species plays in maintaining the ecosystem's health and biodiversity.

There are several different species of hummingbirds that call the South Coast of Oregon their home. These species include:

●           Allen’s hummingbird

specifically, the south coast of Oregon is their breeding habitat. Travels to southern California or Mexico for the winter.

●           Anna’s hummingbird

here year around, somewhat larger than the other two species.

●           Rufous hummingbird – travels as far as Mexico, breeding ads far north as Alaska. Seen in the mountains up to 12,000 feet. Most fierce and territorial.

The South Coast of Oregon boasts a rich array of native plants that have evolved over centuries to adapt to the coastal climate, creating a perfect habitat for a variety of wildlife. Some of the many native plants that hummingbirds use as forage are as follows:

●           Orange honeysuckle

●           Western Columbine

●           Tiger lily

●           Pacific Bleeding Heart

●           Red Flowering currant

●           Salmonberry

●           Indian Plum / Osoberry

●           Red Huckleberry

●           Pacific Rhododendron

●           Pink Honeysuckle

●           Tall Oregon Grape

●           Gooseberry

●           Salal

●           Manzanita

●           California fuschia

●           Native penstemon

●           Larkspur


The relationship between hummingbirds and native plants is one of mutual dependence and coevolution. The plants rely on the hummingbirds for pollination, while the hummingbirds depend on the nectar provided by the flowers for sustenance. These iridescent hummers are a sight to behold as they flit from flower to flower in search of nectar. Their slender bills are perfectly suited for sipping the sweet nectar hidden within the blooms of native plants. As they hover effortlessly in mid-air, they become integral pollinators, transferring pollen from one flower to another and ensuring the continued reproduction of the plant species.

Furthermore, the presence of hummingbirds serves as an indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Seeing these hummers darting around your yard can be a positive sign of environmental well-being. Homeowners can do a great service by using native plants in their landscapes and gardens. Efforts to conserve native plant species along the South Coast of Oregon are not only crucial for the survival of these plants but also for the myriad species, including hummingbirds, that rely on them for food and habitat.

The interaction between hummingbirds and native plants along the South Coast of Oregon is a captivating example of the beauty and symbiosis of nature. As these tiny birds flit among the blooms it is a reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting the delicate ecosystems that sustain life. It is also a reminder that all living things are connected, or as the Native Americans say, “We are all related”. Through conservation efforts and a commitment to biodiversity, we can ensure that future generations will continue to be enchanted by the sight of hummingbirds dancing among the native flora of this stunning coastal region.

Photo credits; Eric P Johnson

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