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Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary, Hereford, Arizona

The first day of my latest Arizona hummingbird search took me to Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary, the home of Mary Jo Ballator and the most likely place to see the Lucifer Hummingbird. Mary Jo has chairs set in several different areas of her property where bird watchers and photographers can film not only hummingbirds, but warblers, tanagers, woodpeckers, grosbeaks, Montezuma Quail and many other birds. Her African Grey parrot “Cookie” also likes to hang out with the birders.

She rents a blind by the day which is set up in an area that spies on several hummingbird feeders not in view from the other areas of the yard. Also, if you rent the blind you have the run of the property for photography purposes and access to bathroom and kitchen facilities in her little Casita. I opted for the blind and hung out there all day to stake out the Lucifer Hummingbird.

The very first hummingbird I saw there was a Lucifer, but I didn’t have my camera set up yet and I then had to wait a few hours for the little guy to come back. While I was waiting for him I saw many Broad-Billed hummers which is the dominant hummingbird in the area at this time. A male Anna’s, a male Rivoli’s and a few female Black-Chinned stopped by to check out the feeders and entertain me while I waited for the Lucifers. One of the Black-Chinneds had obviously been to a lot of flowers, as she had a lot of pollen on her head. The Rivoli’s only came by once all day and I wasn’t quick enough to catch him. I was able to photograph several Rivoli’s on a previous trip to Madera Canyon.

After quite a wait both a male and two female Lucifers started coming back to the feeders. One of the females seems to still be moulting, but the male that kept returning and the other female were in full feather.


Studio City, CA

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