Tuesday, November 4, 2014

First Winter Hummingbird Report of the Season Received

The first winter hummingbird report of the season came in to me yesterday; a female-plumaged bird off Rea Road in south Charlotte. The observer reports obvious rufous plumage on the flanks. This location is smack dab in the middle of the Mecklenburg County hotspot for wintering hummingbirds. 

Though it is very likely a rufous hummingbird, it will be impossible to tell exactly what it is until a definitive photo is taken or the bird can be observed by an experienced birder. Even then, it may be difficult. The rufous hummingbird belongs to the genus Selasphorus, which includes several other closely related species. The adult males are easy to ID, it is the female-plumaged birds that present challenges. To be accurate, it is best to call them Selasphorus hummingbirds until a specific ID can be made.

If this winter is like the 2013-2014 season, dozens more birds will be discovered in the next couple of months. Keep a watch on those feeders! 

Rufous Hummingbird by Jeanne Davis