Banding Data

Location Code:  OTT2
Location Desc.: MICHIGAN, Ottawa Co., Holland
Latitude:  N 42į 47'
Longitude:  W 086į 04'
Hummer Host: Nancy Gillis

Total banded to date: 1

Date Band No. Age Sex Comments
01-Dec-08 Hx1138 AHY M Rufous Hummingbird!
First observed: 07-Nov-08.
Last Observed: 04-Dec-08.

Click here to view written description.





Michigan Rare Bird Report

Species:  Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus), adult male

Date & Time:  December 1, 2008.  First observed by homeowner on November 7, 2008, and last observed on December 4, 2008. I arrived around 9:00 a.m. and the bird made an appearance at around 9:30.  I then set up my trap at 9:35 a.m. and caught the bird at 9:40 a.m (it actually approached the trap while I was still setting it up).  The bird was banded and released at 9:52 a.m. under Federal permit No. 23156, and Michigan Permit No. SC 1303.  The bird returned to the feeders at 9:58 a.m.

Location:  At the home of Nancy Gillis in Holland , Ottawa Co. 

Observer (s):  Allen & Nancy Chartier.

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 overcast and the light was diffuse. The bird was banded, measured, and weighed indoors and photographed outdoors. Photos are attached to this report.

Description:  When the bird first made an appearance at the feeder, it was obvious 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 30-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). Of course the completely rufous upperparts and full orange-red gorget indicated that the bird was an adult.

Sex:  The full orange-red iridescent gorget made it obvious this bird was a male. 

Species:  The back was entirely rufous, with no green feathers or feather edgings evident in-hand.  The second rectrix (r2) showed a very distinct notch on the inner side, and a very 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 1.92mm wide, and its central rectrix (r1) was 8.10mm wide.

Molt: There was no body molt noted on this bird. The outer 5 primaries (p6-p10) were old and worn, p5 was about 80% grown in; p1-p4 were full grown and shiny black, contrasting with the old outer primaries. All the rectrices appeared fresh, except the right central (r1).

Fat/Weight: The bird had a fat code of 1 (0-3 scale) and weighed 3.08 grams, about typical for an adult male likely to overwinter.

Voice:  Briefly, sharp chatter when the bird was released. 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. The width of the outer rectrix (r5) was narrower than the range for adult male Rufous presented by McKenzie and Robbins (1999), but Allenís does not have the distinctly notched r2 of Rufous, as shown by this bird.

Experience:    I have seen dozens of Rufous Hummingbirds in several states, banded 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 December 21, 2008 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.


McKenMcKenzie, P.M. and M.B. Robbins. 1999. Identification of adult male Rufous and Allenís Hummingbirds, with specific comments on dorsal coloration. Western Birds 30: 86-93.

Ortiz-COrtiz-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, FStiles, F.G.  1972.  Age and Sex Determination in Rufous and Allen Hummingbirds.  The Condor 74: 25-32.