Hummingbird Messenger

May 2024

Short-crested Coquette © Anthony Lujan

The Critically Endangered Short-crested Coquette

The Short-crested Coquette is an incredible little hummingbird currently listed under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of eight critically endangered hummingbird species. It is estimated to have a miniscule population of less than 1,000 individuals across a small 33-square mile total range, making it one of Mexico’s rarest hummingbirds. 

First observed in the 1940s and not officially recognized as its own species until the 1990s, the Short-crested Coquette stands at less than 3 inches, spiky crest and all. Within the Sierra de Atoyac in Guerrero, it can be spotted in its preferred habitat of cloud forests — heavy clouds of condensation surrounding tropical semi-deciduous forests — or along pine-oak and deciduous forests. Much of Guerrero consists of coffee plantations, where the hummingbird loves to sip from the flowers that provide shade for the coffee plants. 

Sadly, because of human impact, the Short-crested Coquette population is declining at a rate of 10-19% every decade. In 2011, a study of the hummingbird’s habitat was conducted, and an estimated 884 square miles of suitable habitat and about 52% of vegetation has disappeared from deforestation. Mexico’s cloud forests are a highly biodiverse ecosystem yet they are one of the most threatened ecosystems. While the cultivation of coffee provides regional economic stability, the use of pesticides has negatively impacted the area’s environment. 

As an important pollinator for the region’s flowers, conservation for the Short-crested Coquette has become imperative. Local efforts are being led by researcher Dr. Roberto Carlos Almazán Núñez from the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero and the American Bird Conservancy to spread awareness of the importance of this critically endangered hummingbird. — Irene Perez, IHS Endangered Species Intern

A Note from Alice

It's nearly the end of May and the hummingbirds are returning to their summer grounds. Welcome back friends! Remember to change and clean your hummingbird feeders often to keep the hummers happy and healthy. Glass or plastic is fine -- the important thing is to keep your feeders clean and fresh. More feeder tips can be found on our website under the "Hummingbirds 101" menu.

We are deep into preparations for our Sedona Hummingbird Festival, July 26-28. Register now while there is still space in most activities — some of the field trips and hummingbird breakfasts have already sold out!

Sedona Hummingbird Festival

We are also busy with other activities, including a new hummingbird banding project and a certified hummingbird garden program. Please read on for more about these projects and other important information we have to share, including new discoveries about Giant Hummingbirds!

Travel shout-out: Earlier this year I traveled through Ecuador on a fantastic photography trip offered by one of our newest sponsors, Trogon Photo Tours. We had a special treat photographing the hard to find yet spectacular Fiery Topaz hummingbirds at Arajuno Jungle Lodge, where they are now regularly seen. The lodge's owner Tom Larson was particularly helpful in getting us set up for our photos, and he is looking forward to having more travelers visit to photograph these dazzling birds. We will have presentations at our Festival on hummingbird travel and photography. It is such a thrill to be able to see and photograph dozens of species of beautiful hummingbirds in one trip. -- Alice Madar, Executive Director

New Hummingbird Banding Project

To further our understanding of hummingbird populations and movement within the United States, the International Hummingbird Society is partnering with the Hummingbird Monitoring Network to establish an ongoing hummingbird banding and monitoring site near Sedona at the Page Springs Fish Hatchery in Cornville, Arizona. Project leader Hilary Morejon conducted the first banding session at this location in May of 2024 with the assistance of the Hummingbird Monitoring Network's Executive Director Susan Wethington, as well as Society staff and volunteers.

We will be banding and monitoring hummingbirds at this location on an ongoing basis, enabling researchers to use the data we collect to support their projects.

Thank you to Northern Arizona Audubon Society and Arizona Fish and Game. Each organization contributed $2000 to help make this project happen!

Reduce Your Lawn and Feed the Birds!

Our sponsor High Country Gardens / American Meadows has launched an initiative to encourage you to plant flowers that benefit hummingbirds and other wildlife. Today is the last day you can sign the pledge and be entered to win prizes, just for pledging to replace a portion of your lawn with flowers! Click on the graphic at right to learn more and sign the pledge. There is lots of great information on their website, so please visit it.

Prepare for Hummingbird Garden Certification

Another reason to plant more hummingbird plants: The International Hummingbird Society will soon be launching our Certified Hummingbird Garden program. What do you need for a certified garden? Hummingbird-attracting flowers, trees and shrubs for shelter, flowing water (like a bubbling fountain) for bathing, a commitment to keeping cats indoors and a commitment to avoiding pesticides and herbicides. Stay tuned for more details!

Bird Safe Glass

The most important thing you can do to protect hummingbirds is to make your windows bird safe. In North America alone, it is estimated that up to 1 billion birds die each year from window collisions. At least one study has found that hummingbirds, swifts, and warblers are particularly vulnerable to building collisions. 

The American Bird Conservancy both has an extensive research library and suggestions for how you can make your windows safer for birds. The Bird-window Collision Working Group has also created two handy resources:

Tips from the Bird-window Collision Working Group

Make your Windows Safe for Birds Brochure

We have found FeatherFriendly and CollidEscape products to be very effective at deterring window collisions.

Member Portal

All members can now access our member portal to update their contact information, check membership status, review their membership and donation history, renew membership, download their Festival registration information, and access the members-only video presentations from prior festivals.

If you are currently a member, you can access the member portal via the link in the menu at the top of our homepage: or you can click here to log on:

Member Login

If you are not yet a member of the International Hummingbird Society, click below to to join today!

Join Today!

Giant Hummingbird Research Discoveries

Scientists put tiny radio transmitter backpacks on eight Giant Hummingbirds and made some amazing discoveries.

  • Giant Hummingbirds should really be classified as two distinct species (Northern and Southern)
  • Southern Giant Hummingbirds migrate higher and farther than any other hummingbird, knocking the Rufous Hummingbird off the podium for 1st in long-distance travel.

Read more about this fascinating research here:

Giant Hummingbird Discoveries

Hummingbird U.S. First Class Stamps

The U.S Postal Service has issued first-class postage stamps featuring Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Not sure how long they will be available so you may want to stock up now. The stamps are called Garden Delights. They come in four designs, each one featuring a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird at a different flower.

Hummingbird Postage Stamps