Wednesday, April 22, 2009

FOS Broad-tailed Hummingbird!

The other day I put up a nectar feeder for the soon-to-arrive hummingbirds. When I got home last night, my First Of Season Broad-tailed Hummingbird was feeding!

So as not to waste the food (one must toss out any that sits more than a few days), I only added a couple ounces of sugar water to the feeder. I noticed last night, it was half gone! I guess I won't be wasting much after all! And that pretty male was around first thing this morning, too. Spring is here...

The bird was a male, all decked out in breeding colors. Quite green on top, with a bright, almost cherry-red throat patch (gorget). It is amazing to me how different these birds look...depending on the light. The large photo here, makes the bird seem almost golden, when in fact it is quite green, and the gorget can look almost black sometimes, yet it is not.
This humming bird is a creature of our Rocky Mountain meadows in the summer-time. The male Broad-tailed's wings make a cricket-like whistle in flight. The chin, under brightly colored gorget, is white, as is the belly.

As I mentioned last year, one of the easiest ways to tell the difference between Black-chins (the tail-pumpers) and the Broad-tailed (the buzzers), when they're not buzzing or pumping, is that the Black-chins throat-colors seem to wrap further back on their heads and well up to the eye; giving them a darker-looking head.

You can find more pictures here, where I found these thumbnail shots of the BTAH.

Large photo from Wikimedia


Bosque Bill said...

Cool! I wonder if that is my little Broad-tail? I haven't seen him in about a week. :o)

I spotted my first female hummer of the season this morning. I suspect she was here yesterday, as one of the male Black-chins was doing his trilling, loop-dance over the quince thicket.

I believe I recall that the males migrate into a territory before the females arrive.

Bosque Bill said...

Oops, almost forgot... Happy Earth Day to you and everyone!

Beverly said...

Hey Bill!

LOL Everyone says they come through fast…so I’m tickled to see him still around; though at this minute we’re not even talking 24 hours, as far as I know.

I hear more than I see, at this time; so I don’t know if there is only one, or if there are more here. You recall correctly; according to that fabulous Hummingbird book you mention on your site, I’ve confirmed “Invariably, mature male hummingbirds arrive ahead of females, by as much as three weeks in the spring.” They apparently leave, earlier too…in the fall.

The coolest thing I read in that book is that, as the hummers fly quite high during migration, balloonists report hummingbirds, too; recorded sightings from 200 to 500’ above ground. The author mentioned that since there are some 13 species of hummingbird in NM, and more hot-air balloons than about anywhere else…there should be a lot more date eventually collected by them.

Have a great day!