Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Hummer

No, not the vehicle!!
Today I saw another life bird. This time it was a Rufous Hummingbird that is coming to a feeder in Kingsville. Birders affectionately call hummingbirds "hummers" for short.

Less than two weeks ago, a couple in Kingsville were curious about a hummingbird coming to their feeder and contacted Paul Pratt at Ojibway in Windsor. A hummingbird in November is likely something rare, so Paul investigated. He determined that it was either a Rufous or an Allen's Humminbird. These two species are almost identical, so an in-hand view was required. Some licensed banders captured the bird and determined it was a female Rufous. See photo here.

In Ontario, we only have one native hummingbird, the Ruby-throated, and that is usually gone by early October. Rufous Hummingbirds seem to be heartier birds, and show up in late fall in Ontario. They can survive by coming to feeders with nectar ratio about 4:1. Some may perish, but recent belief is that they eventually head south. There was a case when one was banded in Ohio late one December, and it appeared at the same place a year later!

I did not get a photo of this bird, as I was not fast enough with my camera. This photo shows the feeder a minute after the bird disappeared. The bird roosts in the spruce seen at the top.

My first stop of the day was at the Tip of Point Pelee. I met Adam Pinch there. It was a calm day, so not much was seen. At the tram loop, we came across a Chipping Sparrow. While at the Tip, Paul Pratt came along with a small group from Ojibway. On their way home, they also stopped to see the hummingbird.

Later, passing by Hillman Marsh, a Great Egret flew across in front of me and landed in the marsh at the gate to Hillman. An egret at this late date is pretty good. In fact, it is probably the latest one I have seen.

On to Erieau, I looked at thousands of Bonaparte's Gulls. Nothing different. The Franklin's Gull seems to have moved on, and has not been seen since last Sunday. It could still be nearby though, as there are lots of gulls around right now.

1 comment:

  1. Although the probability must be slim to 0, there is the slightest slightest slightest chance that hummer will stick around until the end of December so I can see it...
    I'm holding onto a thread of hope here but you never know!