Former Gibsons mayor Barry Janyk was sitting at his desk at home in Lower Gibsons last week with one eye on the computer and the other on the hummingbird feeder hanging two metres away through the window.
These things are often subliminal, especially given the tiny size of hummingbirds, but Janyk immediately realized that the bird he had seen was not one of the two usual hummingbird suspects at his feeder, Anna’s or rufous, and a quick consultation with the field guide convinced him that the tiny bird with the scintillatingly iridescent purple, elongated gorget was a male Costa’s hummingbird.
Costa’s hummingbirds are normally confined, even in summer, to Mexico, California and Arizona, but have previously wandered north to B.C. and even coastal Alaska on rare occasions.
Its habitat is defined as desert washes and dry chaparral so it was somewhat incongruous to see the bird amidst the verdant greenery of a rainy day on the Sunshine Coast.
After Janyk circulated his sighting to the local birding community, he graciously hosted a small convention of birders anxious to see the bird, and it co-operated by appearing every few minutes to feed or to perch on a visible branch for photos.
This species has never previously been recorded on the Sunshine Coast and is the 306th bird species to reliably appear here since records began in 1971.