You know (if you have been reading my bird posts) we have been watching more than one hummingbird at our feeder the past few weeks. Last week, my son who carries binoculars and a bird book in his car, (my other two are what I would call ‘incidental bird watchers’ but this son is deliberate about it) was here to visit for Christmas. He took the window screen off so we could get a better look because we really need to see detail so we will know who we have here. He asked if I was sure that both of the hummingbirds were female rufous hummers. I told him I was wondering about one of them because I’ve noticed the throat is dark-colored, but not orange. (Females have a bit of what my friend likes to call “beading” on their throats, except our female’s throat is pretty much white. It’s rows of teensy tiny spots that go from their chin down the throat just a little ways. The female also has a dark spot below the “beading” that males don’t have. Males have a solid orange throat.) My son said it may be an immature male rufous. He noticed the rufous in front of his(?) wings goes back over his shoulders a little ways, too. This bird is also a little bit smaller than the aggressive one.
A few days later in the week, my friend who has been watching birds for decades and is very good at identifying them, came to take a look. She said it’s possible that my son is right. We will have to watch and see if he(?) changes and begins to look more like the mature male. So, maybe we will be watching a little boy hummingbird grow up this winter. That would be so cool!
Another thing I’ve noticed is that the female, who is so aggressive she chases off sparrows, has never showed up to chase this bird away when it is feeding. She does chase a hummingbird, but it’s hard for me to tell if it’s this one before it lands, or if it’s a different bird entirely. I’ll be getting some new batteries for our new camera in a day or two, and I hope to get some photos so I can compare these birds, especially their throats. Then, I want to learn how to put them on here so you can see, too.
One more bird thing – yesterday, I finally saw two goldfinches on the thistle sack at the same time! Won’t be long and there will be a crowd. Winter sure is a great time for watching birds in the Southern US. I hope you are seeing some great things out your windows, too.