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Intermountain Bird Observatory seeing growth in Anna’s Hummingbird population in Idaho

In 2015, there were only about 20 reported sightings of the bird. This winter there have been about 150 sightings.

BOISE, Idaho — There are just over a handful of species of hummingbirds in Idaho, but one of those species are relatively new to the Gem State.

They are called Anna’s Hummingbirds, and they are quite special.

Most hummingbirds fly to Idaho in April and leave by September, but Anna’s Hummingbirds arrive in October and leave in March, staying here during the coldest months of the year.

The Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) is trying to figure out why they can survive these cold months, and why they choose Idaho as their home.

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IBO’s work began in 2015, when there were only about 20 reported sightings of Anna’s Hummingbirds in the winter, but this winter they have had more than 150 reports.

Heidi Ware Carlisle at IBO is one of the lead researchers on the Wintering Anna’s Hummingbird Project.

She said that many of the Anna’s Hummingbirds she tagged have come back multiple winters in a row, but just recently, they found one that stayed for the summer too.

Her team published a paper about it, since it was the first one to ever stay for the warmer months.

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“That’s never happened before, and we’re really curious to learn if that’s going to continue to happen in other places,” Carlisle said. “If people see - especially a female Anna’s Hummingbird in the summertime - we’d really like to know about it, because we’re hoping to document some nesting.”

You can report your Anna’s Hummingbird sighting here.

If you would like a chance to see one of these beautiful birds in your backyard, Carlisle said you will need a heated bird feeder, and some nectar.

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She said a good sugar solution is one cup of water to one quarter cup of sugar.

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