This morning I had the pleasure of visiting a home that is hosting a very late hummingbird. Generally, hummingbirds should be gone from central New York by mid-September. A late hummingbird is exciting because frequently, a hummingbird after November 1st is a Rufous Hummingbird. Particularly intriguing about this bird was that when I talked to the homeowner on the phone, she was pretty certain it was not a Rufous.
At this point my mind started wandering to other possibilities, like Calliope and Black-chinned Hummingbird, both of which have already shown up this fall in neighboring states.
This morning, Joe Brin and I arrived and staked out the yard, hoping for the hummingbird to appear. We were quite fortunate, and she perched on an old snag about 5 minutes after we set up. Soon she was down at the feeder and gave us great looks.
We were able to see that it did not have any rufous on the flanks and so we looked at all the characteristics and narrowed it down. The fresh plumage makes it an immature. The short bill and heavy contrast in the face, as well as the pointed (vs. club-like) closed wingtips ruled out Black-chinned, while the tail that is longer than the wingtips at rest ruled out Calliope. It looks like this is an exceptionally late immature female Ruby-throated Hummingbird.