Rufous Hummingbird – Onondaga County NY

[dc]T[/dc]his morning I got out pretty early to look for the Rufous Hummingbird that was coming to a feeder in Phoenix. It was overcast but calm as I pulled up in front of the house and walked around to the back. There were only two other birders there and they said that they hadn’t seen it yet. We didn’t have to wait long though, as soon we heard some hummingbird chirps that were definitely not Ruby-throated and watched as an small bright orange bird whizzed past us and perched in a tree nearby. The lighting was truly awful but it was obviously an adult male Rufous Hummingbird.

Rufous Hummingbird – adult male (iPhone-scoped – handheld through Zeiss 85 T*FL with 20×60 zoom)
Phoenix, NY 9/19/2012

After that, the Rufous was very cooperative, frequently visiting the feeders and perching on exposed branches, giving us a chance to photograph it. Conveniently, the hummingbird was a bright male that we could identify as a Rufous. Often vagrant hummingbirds in the east are immatures and females which can pose an identification challenge. In some states, Pennsylvania and the Gulf Coast come to mind, many of these hummingbirds are banded to hopefully figure out where they are coming from. This has the added benefit of making it easier to identify some of the species that are very similar.

I put some video together to show how actively it was feeding. It frequently looked like it might be chasing insects but I could never see the insects so I am not sure if he was successful. He was very territorial of the feeder though, chasing away the female Ruby-throated Hummingbird that would occasionally try to sneak in.

Make sure you watch the video below at fullscreen and set it to 1080p for the best quality (click the gear icon on the bottom right).