Monday, July 14, 2014

Seeing red at a hummingbird feeder?

Hummingbird activity has really picked up at my feeders the last couple of weeks. I expect it to continue to build through August as migrating birds pass through and local birds continue to tank up for their migration journey.

As this activity increases be on the lookout for adult male rufous hummingbirds. Occasionally the males of this species enter our area during mid-summer and spend a day or two at a feeder. They will be easy to recognize by their orangey-red plumage. They should also have a shiny reddish-orange throat. Don't expect them, but with birds always be ready to expect the unexpected. Below are some photos of rufous hummingbirds exhibiting the rufous plumage.

Rufous hummingbird by Jo O'Keefe
Immature male rufous hummingbird by Fran Thomas
One more thing about hummingbirds...I get a few reports every year about all-black hummingbirds at feeders. the hosts usually identify them as black-chinned hummingbirds. This is very likely NOT what they are seeing. It is probably a male ruby-throated hummingbird. Remember all male hummingbirds' throats in this area look black in poor light. A black-chinned hummingbird actually has a violet throat.


Anonymous said...

I have two feeders and this is the first year in over ten in which I have not seen one hummingbird at my home in Gastonia. Moreover, I have three butterfly bushes and several small raised lots of wildflowers and yet I have only seen three or so butterflies all year. Last year there were times when a couple of dozen were all over the flowers. Every year I have birds which nest in my hanging flower baskets and this year every nest (3) was destroyed by some sort of predator, I am assuming a bird. The only positive are the bluebirds which nested in my four bluebird boxes.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed a lot less hummingbirds at my feeders this year. The ones that are here seem a lot more skittish than in previous years. Wonder if this is a trend?