Location Code: IN-09
Indiana Rare Bird Report
Species: Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), adult male
Date & Time:November 13, 2009. First observed by homeowner in mid-October, and last observed on January 2, 2010. I arrived around 8:30 a.m. and the bird made an appearance very soon after.. I then set up my trap at 9:10 a.m. and caught the bird at 9:11 a.m. The bird was banded and released at 9:34 a.m. under Federal permit No. 23156, and Indiana state permit No. 09-0046. The bird returned to the feeder at 10:05 a.m.
Location: At the home of Melody DíAmbra in Carmel, Hamilton Co.
Observer (s): Allen Chartier, Don Gorney, Melody DíAmbra (homeowner), Larry Peavler.
Equipment: Photographed in-hand with digital camera. All measurements were made using digital calipers. Bill corrugations were determined by viewing through a 10x loupe, as they are impossible to accurately determine any other way.
Viewing conditions: The sky was clear and the light was good. The bird was banded, weighed and photographed outdoors. Photos are attached to this report.
Description: When the bird first made an appearance at the feeder, it was apparent that it was an adult male Rufous Hummingbird, based on the extensively rufous upperparts, as Allenís Hummingbirds do not have any rufous on the back This observation was made with 10x Swarovski EL binoculars from a distance of about 25-feet. The bird was captured for banding, and it was aged, sexed, and identified in that order. The proper use of Stiles (1972) for banders requires that an individual Rufous/Allenís Hummingbird in-hand be correctly aged and sexed before a species determination can be made (B. Sargent and N. Newfield, pers. comm.). In this case, the birdís plumage made all these obvious.
Age: The bird was aged as after hatch-year (adult) based on the absence of shallow groovings or corrugations on the upper mandible. This is universally recognized as the most reliable method for age determination in hummingbirds (Ortiz-Crespo, 1972).
Sex: The full orange-red iridescent gorget made it obvious this bird was a male.
Species: The back was entirely rufous, with none of the feathers showing green. The second rectrix (r2) showed a distinct notch on the inner side, and a distinct emargination on the outer side. These characters are sufficient to identify the bird as a Rufous Hummingbird.Additional measurements of tail feathers were taken, as a matter of consistency, though not much has been published on the ranges of some of these (particularly the widths of r5 in adult males). This birdís outer rectrix (r5) was 2.11mm wide, and its central rectrix (r1) was 6.96 mm wide.
Molt: There was no body molt noted on this bird. The outer 4 primaries (p7-p10) were old and worn, p6 was about 99% grown in new; p1-p5 were full grown and shiny black, contrasting with the old outer primaries. The central rectrix (r1), r2 and r5 appeared fresh and were likely recently replaced, and r3 & r4 were old and worn.
Fat/Weight: The bird had a fat code of 0 (0-3 scale) and weighed 3.37 grams, about typical for an adult male likely to overwinter.
Voice: Briefly, sharp chatter when the bird was taken in-hand from the trap. More strident than Ruby-throated gives.
Similar Species: Any rufous in the back feathers effectively eliminates Allenís Hummingbird, the only similar species in adult male plumage. Further, the distinctly notched second rectrix (r2) is diagnostic for Rufous Hummingbird.
Experience: I have seen dozens of Rufous Hummingbirds in several states, banded more than 50 in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Ontario, and handled ~35 in Louisiana in February 2003 with Nancy Newfield, and handled about a dozen in Arizona in 2006 helping other banders. I have seen several Allenís Hummingbirds on two trips to California and once recently in Arizona, and handled 3 in Louisiana in February 2003. As a trained, licensed hummingbird bander, I am familiar with all pertinent in-hand criteria for distinguishing Rufous from Allenís Hummingbird, in addition to known field criteria for separating these species.
When report was written: This report was written on November 25, 2009 based on data and photos taken during the banding process.
References consulted: None were consulted while observing the bird in the field, nor were any used to write notes in the field or to write this report. Stiles (1972) and Pyle (1997) were available during the banding of the bird, but neither was necessary to identify the bird.
Ortiz-Crespo, F.I. 1972. A new method to separate immature and adult hummingbirds. Auk 89: 851-857.
Pyle, P. 1997. Identification Guide to North American Birds: Part 1. Slate Creek Press, CA.
Stiles, F.G. 1972. Age and Sex Determination in Rufous and Allen Hummingbirds.The Condor 74: 25-32.