Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A Hummingbird Update

Our Allen's Hummingbird hasn't been seen in several days, and is probably gone.  Considering that they are early migrants, and by this time have already returned to breeding areas in northern California, I figured he would be leaving us soon.  This photo was taken on February 24th, near the end of his brief stay with us: 
According to the TOS Handbook of Texas Birds, studies suggest that males with full gorgets, adult tail feathers, and entirely green backs "are indeed Allen's."  Combine that with behavioral clues, the early departure date, and comments from other birders supporting the identification,  and I think I can safely add this one to the yard list (and to my Texas list!).  Had I seen this bird in California I wouldn't have questioned the identification as Allen's, but considering it's rarity (relative to Rufous Hummingbird) in Texas, I felt I needed to be a bit cautious.

We still have at least one Selasphorus-type hummingbird coming to our feeders.  This one has entirely green upperparts with just a faint buff wash on the flanks.  Odds are it's a Rufous, but short of capturing it and examining the tail feathers in hand there's really no way of knowing.  Despite the persistence of cold weather, winter is almost over, and we should see the first returning Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the next week or so...


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