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          Female Rufous Hummingbird consuming ash

I watched, on multiple occasions, female Rufous Hummingbirds consuming ash. They chase after tiny insects around a brush pile, but the nearby ash pile is where I have seen them directly on the ground, scooping up several bill-fulls of ash. Their crops show movement, so it is being ingested, at least that far. Only the females have been seen consuming ash and there is conspecfic aggression between female Rufous. Individual birds averaged 2-3 visits per hour to this ash pile (observed on four separate occassions). Only the females are consuming ash, so I presume this is for minerals, perhaps to aid with egg shell development.        

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NOTE: Video may take a moment to load or play slowly depending on connection speed / time of day viewed.    Video by © Craig Johnson