[Tweeters] thrushes & Rufous Hummer in Seattle yard

amy schillinger schillingera at hotmail.com
Mon Apr 28 13:54:07 PDT 2008

Dennis, Tweeters,
I agree with you notes about Swainson's Thrushes. I was just reading a book about plants of the Pacific coast from Washington to Alaska and under the Salmonberry section it noted that people used to call them "salmonberry bird" due to the fact that their arrival almost always coincided with the ripening of the berries themselves (which is around late May/early June). I myself have seen and heard quite a few Hermits this year, some even coming to the feeders. I sometimes hope one is a Swainson's and it will put forth that beautiful aria until I hear a "chuck or chump" call instead of a "whit". Interesting.
Amy Schillinger
Renton, WA
schillingera at hotmail.com

To: tweeters at u.washington.eduFrom: dennispaulson at comcast.netDate: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 11:11:14 -0700Subject: [Tweeters] thrushes & Rufous Hummer in Seattle yardHello, tweets.

Just to add to all the Hermit Thrush records, I have had one in my yard for the last two days. Spotted thrushes aren't the most obvious of all birds, so I am always confident that more of them might be in my yard than I see (not to mention that I spend a rather small percentage of my time observing birds in the yard).

Nevertheless, I have seen this species again and again, as follows:

20 Apr-3 May, 20 Sep 96
18-20 Apr, 27 Nov 97
19 Apr 98
7-8 May, 19-20 May 99
24 Apr, 20 Sep 00
5 May 01
27 Apr-11 May, 18 Oct (2) 02
31 Dec 03
11 Apr, 9-11 Oct, 13 Nov 04
23 Apr, 17 Nov 05
5 May, 1 Oct, 1 Nov 06
22 Sep 07
27-28 Apr 08

This is a substantial range of dates, from 11 Apr-10 May in spring and 20 Sep-17 Nov in fall, plus one midwinter observation (yet on only one day, so presumably passing through). By contrast, although Swainson's Thrush is surely as common in western WA, I have seen that species many fewer times:

18 May 96
14 May, 22 May, 6 Sep 97
23 Aug, 26 Sep 98
16 May 99
13 May, 21 Jul 01
16 May 03

and not since then, but I have been out of state in mid May during several recent years.
Swainson's is later in spring, earlier in fall than Hermit, even though both species breed in the Alaska lowlands to the north of here. This difference may be in part because Hermits winter much farther north than Swainson's. I have seen several reports of Swainson's on tweeters this April, and I hope observers are aware of the improbability of the occurrence of that species in Washington in April.

An even more interesting bird in the yard yesterday (27 Apr) was a MATURE MALE RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD, the first mature male I have seen in the yard in 16 years of observations. We see Rufous every spring/summer/fall, but always in the past females and/or immatures. Was this bird a late migrant on its way to Alaska?

Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
dennispaulson at comcast.net

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