Backyard Nature Identification

Backyard Nature Identification title=
Backyard Nature Identification
8 Comments
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By Chuck Cagara

The other day I posted several photos of "neighbors" in my backyard and wrongly identified an Allen's Hummingbird as a Rufous Hummingbird.

Reader MINIBEAST was kind enough to point out the error and offer a positive means of identification between the two - the Rufous having a "notch" in tail feathers to both the left and right of center.

Fortunately I had another photo taken directly behind a different bird with fully-fanned tail feathers.  Here the notches can easily be seen.

Thus, we have both species flitting about the yard.

So, from MINIBEAST and other serious birders, is this proof positive of a Rufous?

Thanks to one and all for looking and commenting and, again, during our travails, stay well, stay safe...

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8 Comments

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ACF Apr 03, 2020 09:16 PM
Backyard Nature Identification

This bird has a slightly green back, so I'd call it an Allen's. The Rufous hummingbirds I've seen haven't had any green on the back. By the way, there will always be notches between pointed feathers, so I'm not sure if this is an identifying feature. But I could be mistaken....

Curmudgeon Apr 04, 2020 09:41 AM
Backyard Nature Identification

ACF - The debate over Rufous vs. Allen's has piqued my curiosity. In days of yore I would have settled down in my den with a thick volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica to undertake the search. Now, several internet queries led to sites such as Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon, etc. What I've read so far claims that Rufous hummers can have some (or a great deal) of green depending upon sex and age (juvenile or adult.) The notched tail feathers seems to be associated only with Rufous and not with Allen's. Thus, I'll cast my lot with Rufous. How 'bout it serious birders - what say you?

MountainMan4865 Apr 02, 2020 05:19 PM
Backyard Nature Identification

The Rufous has a pretty disticntive flight sound. I remember someone saying you can tell them apart by who was being chased and who was doing the chasing, but I can't remember which was which.

Curmudgeon Apr 02, 2020 06:09 PM
Backyard Nature Identification

TAGDES - Yes, all the hummers argue and defend the feeder during the day and then around 7pm. voila, communal dining with all six ports occupied and several buzzing around to get a turn.

tagdes Apr 02, 2020 05:46 PM
Backyard Nature Identification

The Rufous is the most aggressive although they all are when it comes to territory. It's also being noticed locally that they all sort of mellow out in the evening because they know they can only feed a short time and can't waste the energy fighting. Though Corvids ( Crows Magpies etc. ) are known to be smart, Hummers have the largest portion of their brain for memory and assessing the situation and can remember you and where the feeder was when it's taken away. They've even been found to hit the same plants in order and wait ample time for more nectar to become available.

Minibeast Apr 02, 2020 02:35 PM
Backyard Nature Identification

Rufous, you little rufousy guy, you. C'mon over and have a sip of my Echiums.

Curmudgeon Apr 02, 2020 03:25 PM
Backyard Nature Identification

MINIBEAST - Curious about your nickname. Do you study or work in a scientific capacity with invertebrates?

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