Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Selasphorus Hummingbirds in the East

In the east, more and more people have been leaving up their hummingbird feeders until late into the fall. Most of our regular Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have gone south, but there's always a chance of attracting a vagrant hummingbird from the west or from Mexico. A Calliope Hummingbird was seen in Cape May a few weeks ago. My buddy Adam from Virginia has a Selasphorus hummingbird visiting his feeder. Wait... a Selas-what?

Adam's mystery hummingbird

Selasphorus is the genus that includes Rufous Hummingbird, Allen's Hummingbird, and Broad-tailed Hummingbird in the US. According to Cornell, Rufous Hummingbird is most likely to be found as a vagrant in the eastern US. Allen's is less likely, but can appear. Broad-tailed is the least likely. The reason I didn't say that Adam had a Rufous or an Allen's is because the females and immatures of these two species are virtually identical. They are best identified in the hand or through some very detailed photographs. For some excellent case studies on identifying vagrant hummingbirds, check out this synopsis of vagrant hummingbirds in the NYC metro area.

Adam's hummingbird was identified tentatively as a female Rufous. It actually has a band on its leg, but he hasn't been able to read it yet. Banders are scheduled to come on 11/3. I'll keep you all updated!

No comments: