October and November are peak months for finding vagrant hummingbirds in Pennsylvania. There have already been several Rufous Hummingbirds banded across the state. Remarkably, there have already been three Selasphorus hummingbirds reported in Lycoming County this fall. Hummingbird bander Wayne Laubscher attempted to band two of the hummingbirds but they avoided the trap. Based on photographs, the birds were aged as a probable
adult female hatch year male (Unityville) and a probable hatch year female (Warrensville). This extraordinary number of reported western hummingbird species in Lycoming County are likely due to some great outreach by the folks at the Lycoming Audubon Society. This year they ran a contest, offering prizes to the first 3 reports of vagrant hummingbirds. This is something that more birding organizations should definitely try.
The many reports of vagrant hummingbirds are a timely reminder that we should keep hummingbird feeders up through December. In the past year, Pennsylvania has hosted 3 western species of hummingbird- Anna’s, Allen’s and Rufous. There was also a Calliope in in 2002 It is only a matter of time before we get a Broad-tailed, Broad-billed, or Black-chinned Hummingbird- or something really wild such as a Green-breasted Mango or Green Violetear. It is important to keep the feeders clean and the sugar water fresh. Sugar water is made by mixing 1 part sugar to 4 parts water and should be made without red dye. If you do have a hummingbird coming to your feeder now, please post it on the PABirds listserv or contact me and I will forward your information to a local bander.
Below are several photos taken by Wayne Laubscher of the Unityville and Warrensville hummingbirds. Here’s hoping that he manages to band and definitively identify the Warrensville bird and that more vagrant hummingbirds keep showing up.