Thriving in the neighborhood

ORNITHOLOGY | Monte Travis

When I saw a golden crowned hummingbird up at Alta Plaza Park near the tennis courts, I was confused. I was unaware of any species that sports a golden crown. But then I watched as she dipped her bill into the long red tubular-shaped flowers adorning the bushes and witnessed the way the stamen pressed down on her head as she sipped nectar from the bottom of the flower. That was pollen on her head! It would travel with her to another flower, completing the plant’s sex act. I waited till she landed and took the shot above.

She’s actually a female Anna’s Hummingbird, the species that stays in San Francisco all year. Below is a male Anna’s I photographed at Lafayette Park last April. Note the vermillion, iridescent head. These little guys are amazing creatures, on so many levels, and they thrive right here in the neighborhood.