Ruby-throated Hummingbird Archilochus colubris
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are our most common and expected hummingbird species. There are a very few that remain through the winter, and they really start arriving in numbers in the early spring (mid-March). Aside from watching feeders, you can often find them while taking a leisurely walk at places like Reddie Point Preserve, Sheffield Regional Park, Hanna Park, and Fort George Island. There is usually at least one that hangs out around the garden at Kingsley Plantation. The first documented record of the species dates to 13 April 1940 (Stevenson & Anderson, 1994).
Black-chinned Hummingbird Archilochus alexandri
Black-chinned Hummingbirds are very rare in county and should not be expected in any year, but I would scrutinize any winter hummingbird reported as Ruby-throated to ensure it isn’t a Black-chinned. The earliest report I’ve been able to find is from 12-13 January 1974, which Stevenson (1974) noted as the third state record. The next report is from 6-7 April 1989, a bird Langridge (1989) reported as visiting a feeder. Rex Rowan observed one at Hugh and Angie Tyner’s house on 21 November 1992 (R. Rowan, pers. communication, 2016). On 2 January 1994 an immature male was reported coming to a feeder (West, Wamer, & Pranty, 1994); the only other report is from 7 January 1996 (Smith).
Rufous Hummingbird Selasphorus rufus
Rufous Hummingbirds undoubtedly occur annually in the county at private residences, but they are rarely widely reported in the birding community. In the winter of 2013-2014, at least two were photographed and reported in different areas of the county. The earliest county records I’ve been able to find are from 29 November 1971, 12-13 January 1974, and 18-19 September 1975 (Conway & Drennan, 1979). The 1975 bird was noted as Florida’s then record second earliest fall arrival (Edscorn, 1976).
Other known reports are from 2-9 December 1978 (Stevenson, 1981), 17 December – 15 January 1981, March to April 1996 (Langridge, 1996), and 6 October 1996 (Wamer, 1997).
Calliope Hummingbird Selasphorus calliope
The first state record for this species comes from Duval County and thus represents the first County record as well. The bird was recorded from 20 December 1995 through 27 January 1996 (West, 1996).
In February 2007, Peggy Powell hosted a Calliope Hummingbird at her feeder. The bird remained for many days and allowed for easy viewing by anyone who went to see the bird; Marie and I were fortunate to view the bird on 1 February 2007 there. The previous year, one was reported coming to another private feeder on 7 January 2006.
Broad-billed Hummingbird Cynanthus latirostris
On 16 January 2008, a Broad-billed Hummingbird arrived at a private residence on the west side of Jacksonville and remained until 21 February. It was identified as a second year male and provided the third state record of the species for Florida. Marie and I saw the bird on 16 January 2008, but I can recall the extreme hospitality the homeowner showed to us and dozens of others from across the state more than the hummingbird. It takes a special person to literally open their home to strangers to sit inside the house waiting for the bird to visit the feeder out on the patio.