People have come from across the province and even as far away as Whitehorse to get a glimpse of a Costa’s Hummingbird that has taken up residence in the garden near Ken and Kathy Pritchard’s home and vacation cottage on Douglas Bay, at Donkersley Beach.
“A fellow flew in from Victoria, spent two hours watching and then he flew out again. He was 70 years old and said it was on his life list, and he didn’t have to go to the desert to do it. It came right up to the feeder and was just a few feet away. Another lady came all the way from Whitehorse to see it,” said Ken.
The bird causing the ruckus is just over three inches tall and is incredibly fast, said Ken, putting to shame the speed of the Anna’s Hummingbirds that commonly overwinter here.
“We nicknamed him Flash. He took after a sharp-shinned hawk that got too close to his nesting area and the hawk took after him and he outraced it.”
Flash is way north of the usual haunts for Costa’s Hummingbirds, which are relatively common in Baja, Arizona and California deserts. But the purple speedsters have been seen only a few times this far north. (Another has been hanging around a feeder in Abbotsford, but it’s on private property, so birders aren’t getting a good look there, whereas they’re welcomed by Ken and Kathy.)
If Flash survives the winter, it will be the first documented case of a Costa’s overwintering in Canada. Flash appears to have an Anna’s girlfriend, which could lead to a hybrid, said Ken.
The little bird is attracting so much attention that Ken set up a “Costa’s special” for the SeaSide Escape Retreat vacation cottage, and it’s filling up fast. Flash is listed on the BC Rare Bird Alert website.
“We had a photographer come from Nanaimo to photograph the Costa’s and she won an award for it. And we’ve had oodles of birders from Vancouver and Vancouver Island.”