[Tweeters] Cascadia Hummingbird Report - 02/14/2005

Mike Patterson celata at pacifier.com
Sun Feb 13 18:54:00 PST 2005

Cascadia Hummingbird Report - 02/14/2005

Several more reports came in from along the coast this week as well as
a report from Merlin in southern Oregon.

Astoria, OR (2)     	02-08-2005	46.1876	123.8362
Lyngstad Heights, OR	02-10-2005	46.1473	123.8441
Nahcotta, WA        	02-11-2005	46.5167	124.0625
Merlin, OR          	02-12-2005	42.5175	123.4186
Florence, OR        	02-12-2005	43.9864	124.1031
Depoe Bay, OR       	02-13-2005	44.6237	123.2830

The first official ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD report came from Bandon, OR this
(though some earlier _Selasphorus_ reports were probably this species,
as well).

Evaluating early reports is always problematic and the very mild winter
year has made things all the more complicated.  Several overwintering
were well documented this season and its hard to tell how many
overwintering birds materialize as folks refill their feeders. 

I was sent photos of two of tricky birds this week.  The first is from 
Nipomo, CA of a bird that first appeared on 1/24 and is still hanging out
there: http://home.pacifier.com/~neawanna/humm/allison2005.jpg
The back indicates adult male, but the throat is clearly still molting
My guess is this bird was overwintering somewhere nearby.

According to Caulder (1996) molt should take place on the wintering grounds.
So any genuine migrant should have adult plumage this time of year. 
are a couple caveats of course.  The green-backed condition in Rufous
is at least partly an artifact of age, though the degree is still debated.
Some individuals may also retain growth striation on there bills into
early part of the second year, though not all do and you'd have to have the
bird in hand to see them.

A second bird from Port Orchard, WA 
http://home.pacifier.com/~neawanna/humm/miller2005.jpg taken 2/11 is
trickier, it could be a female, but the back appears to be red.  If
the throat has not started molting.  I'd like to see a better back shot 
and maybe a tail shot before making any firm claims, but this is
also an over-wintering male.

Of course, the problem with these pronouncements is that I'm assuming that
the litmus test for sorting overwintering birds from true migrants is 
completed molt cycle and, while I've never caught birds during migration,
still completing molt, I could be wrong.

I have also received a couple of reports which, because they don't contain
enough information and/or come from places too far outside the expected 
patterns, are being treated a misidentifications.  Please check the "are
you sure?" link at the website below if there is a chance you may be seeing
the more common (for now) Anna's Hummingbird at your feeder.

For more information on tracking Rufous Hummingbirds see:

Mike Patterson               
Astoria, OR                    
celata at pacifier.com  
If you want to end war and stuff, you've got to sing loud
                                            - Arlo Guthrie

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