Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ever heard a Blue Jay imitate a Red-Shouldered Hawk?

How well can a Blue Jay *really* imitate a Red-Shouldered Hawk? Caught these two on video today. Thought the Hawk was flirting with another hawk til the Jay showed up!!

10 feet tall and bullet proof!

Had a visitor to the yard today….a beautiful Cooper’s hawk! Needless to say, every bird in sight disappeared instantly…except for the juvie male Rufous hummer who guards the end of my driveway. He was divebombing the hawk if it moved, and cussing at it incessantly for as long as it was there. Fortunately it had its eyes on other things (house sparrows) and couldn’t be bothered with this tiny feisty morsel!

The dive-bombing in this video doesn’t show…but you can hear him cussing in the background (turn up the sound, but cover any tender ears in the room—such language, tsk tsk!!)

And here’s a closeup of the tough guy. Does he look 10 feet tall and bullet proof to you???

Friday, December 29, 2006

They do eat bugs, they do, they do, they do!

There were some postings recently on humnet (listserv for humnuts) regarding whether or not hummers are flycatchers to any significant degree. I don't think there's really a debate...I believe it's been ruled by examining stomach contents that they are, but it's rare to actually witness them at it. I was watching this little hummer today -- he's an overwintering juvenile male Ruby-Throat --and I caught him in action! You can even see the insect he's after! Some times it pays to be patient :-)

The short version of the video:

The longer version of the video:

And a neat short clip of a great stretch and tail flare…

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sorting out winter hummers...

I'm trying to sort out the hummers that have visited me so far this winter, or at least the ones I've managed to photograph. There appear to be six distinct birds:

#1 - The first winter bird was an adult female Sel R/A with a distinct triangular gorget and a lovely bracelet on her left leg. Since Nancy banded two female Rufous here last year and she bands on the left leg, it stands to reason she is a returnee. Hope to confirm that at some point. She’s the only one that I’ve confirmed is banded – thought I saw a band on one of the others, but when I view the video I can’t see it.

#2 - I have another Sel R/A that has a LOT of rust-color on it. The gorget is smaller compared to the other Sel R/A birds. It’s not an adult male Rufous though… but it has a lot of rust for a female. What do you think?

#3 – I am pretty sure this is a third Sel R/A. The coloring and the gorget looks different to me than my #1 bird. Also see no evidence of band.

#4 – I observed #4 and #5 on the same day. Or rather…I knew I had a bird that was not a Sel R/A but I hadn’t sorted it out yet. When I did manage to get a picture, two birds showed up! I call #4 “Fatty” because it’s, well, fat. J It also has a single reflective gorget feather to the lower right so I’ve been able to ID it by that (not definitive, I know, but raises probability with so few birds around). I think it might be a Ruby-throat, although it’s the mildest-mannered one I’ve seen. Twice I’ve seen it allow other birds on “his” feeder. His feather’s get ruffled but he rarely rants or take action. Very laid back bird, for a hummer.

#5 – First observed this bird when it visited the feeder that #4 was guarding! He has a distinct 5-oclock shadow, but no reflective feathers in it that I can see. This is a closer look at just #5

#6 – This last one is definitely not a Sel R/A, nor is it the same bird as either #4 or #5 because her throat is completely clear – no shadow or gorget feathers in sight. I’d say she’s either a RTHU or a Black-chinned.