Sunday, August 23rd, was an interesting bird-day in my yard. My new friend was here; we were having morning coffee while watching humming and other birds out the big picture window. He’d just come in after re-hanging a feeder just outside the window, where he’d experienced the magic of standing between two feeders and feeling the little birds buzz back and forth around his head, feeding with no apparent fear. We must have been chatting and watching them, as well as the many Evening Grosbeak families that have made the yard theirs.
Generally, I run-off the Eurasian Collared-doves from the close-in flat-bed feeder; they scatter food and run off the smaller birds. All I have to do is wave my arms from inside and they’ll take off; they’re pretty flighty. Suddenly, a different dove landed…a White-winged dove. Clearly it lacked not only the dark ring at the back of it’s neck, but it also had the tell-tail white feathering along the outside edge of it’s folded wing. Sweet! I hope it makes it through the coming cold weather…unlike the last one that was here during the fall/winter.
After a couple hours of visiting and watching birds, we noticed a very different hummingbird, too. While many of the little birds these days are females (males seem to leave first during migrations), we’re used to seeing lots of green backs and heads. When we noticed one that was more blue than green, we got very interested. It didn’t stay long, but it was decidedly blue-green along the head and somewhat on it’s back, too; a very different color…sort of a teal-green.
I wish I’d noted more about its tail or mandible …nothing stood out (for this not very observant birder) other than the very blue-ish color. It was such a surprise; I’d never seen such a color on a hummingbird.
I wonder what it could have been… It was a male, with red gorget and a tiny bit of white behind the eye. We think it looked a lot like some photos of the this beautiful Ruby-throat (here on the right), but that color was also reminicent of some photos I've seen of a Violet-crowned Hummingbird (though it doesn't have that beautiful red throat!).
Has anybody else noted this very different teal-green on a hummingbird seen in Colorado? Was it just a trick of lighting? We watched both this male, and a single female that came around later. I wish I had the time to spend another three hours watching them...
I got a couple shots (through a rain-stained window) today, a few days later. The color I mean shows up more in a larger photo...even on the photo of the Ruby-throat. I watched the bird more closely, it seems to be a youngster...isn't that what the downy bit near it's feet is all about? And when it hovers, I noticed the tail is white tipped and the undersides, including under the tail, are quite dark.
At any rate, BosqueBill must be right; it's a Broad-tailed Hummingbird. Perhaps that whole 'teal' thing (observed by two people) was just a play on light. Has anybody else noticed such a thing?