By November, this area has typically seen the last of the common ruby-throated hummingbird. It has usually made its way south by now
So when Daily Herald photographer George LeClaire found this hummingbird Monday, munching on the upright hybrid fuchsia in his Glenview back yard, he took notice - and some captivating images.
His excitement grew, however, after he shipped the images off to Tim Joyce, manager of Wild Birds Unlimited in Arlington Heights and Glenview.
Joyce reports that the hummingbird is actually the rufous hummingbird, one with few reported sightings in this area, though it occasionally will "wander into our area during fall migration."
The hardy birds are known to nest across the western states and up into Alaska, he said. Which means, of course, this reddish colored bird, possibly from Alaska - a Palin operative? - visited a blue state the day before Election Day.
So, how can you tell it's a rufous hummingbird? By its rufous color, of course, which in layman's terms means reddish. The color will mark the sides of the chest and stomach and the base of the tail.
The rufous hummingbird makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any bird in the world, as measured by body size. Its 3,900-mile journey from Alaska to Mexico is equivalent to 784,500 body lengths.
It is 3 to 4 inches long with a wingspan of 4 inches and weighs one-tenth of an ounce.
&bull Editor's note: After publication, a math error was found in the story. The hummingbird's 3,9000-mile journey actually is closer to 78.4 million body lengths.