One of California's most beloved birds today was named the 2014 Audubon California Bird of the Year. The Allen's Hummingbird - which lives exclusively along the Pacific Coast from Mexico to Oregon - received the designation after totaling nearly 30 percent of votes cast during an online poll this fall.
The Allen's Hummingbird migrates between wintering grounds in Mexico and breeding ground in California and southern Oregon, though some birds will stay in the Golden State year-round. The Allen's Hummingbird prefers coastal areas with trees and shrubs, and is commonly seen taking nectar from flowers. It is also a popular visitor to backyard feeders.
An adult Allen's Hummingbirds is about 3.5 inches long, with a wingspan of about 4 inches. It has an iridescent red throat and a shiny green back, and it weighs about the same as three or four paperclips.
While the Allen's Hummingbird is not considered to be of conservation concern, Audubon researchers fear that could change in the coming years as development and non-native plants continue to chip away at its coastal habitat. Global warming is also predicted to have an impact on the Allen's Hummingbird. By 2080, the species could lose up to 90 percent of its breeding range, forcing it to find more hospitable areas elsewhere. To those who love watching the Allen's Hummingbird at their feeder, this could be a big loss.
More than 8,800 votes were cast in this year's Bird of the Year poll. The Allen's Hummingbird finished with 29.4 percent of the vote. The Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo came in second place with 23.2 percet, followed closely by the Brown Pelican at 23 percent.
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