Date: 3/14/17 8:15 pm
From: DJ Lauten and KACastelein <deweysage...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Rufous x Allen's hybrids

I suspect because a) you can't shoot and eat them, and b) they are not
endangered, is the reasons no one has done the studies needed.

Tim knows darn well how I feel about this issue - which can be summed up
as, 'no one really knows'. The truth is we can call a display this or
that, but we aren't a female Selasphorus, so frankly, what the heck do
we know about displays? I feel that sometimes the display is a little
too much leaned on. I'm not sure anyone really knows what the
difference is in displays to a female - is it really meaningful? How
many females differentiate between this male swinging and that male
not? Look at a human disco dance room - do all the females do after
the guys who swing, or the guys who don't? Sexual selection is a very
tricky topic in many ways. What anthropomorphic aspect we put on it
might mean nothing to the lady female hummingbirds who are the target.

In other words, what do we really know? Without genetics, how can you
tell? And since male Selasphorus have nothing to do with raising the
chicks, what do the genetics really tell us anyway? Extra pair
copulation is a well known phenomenon. Do female Selasphorus really
care about what color the back is or how they display? Point me to the
evidence.........I suspect you can't.

Dave Lauten

On 3/14/2017 6:58 AM, Tim Rodenkirk wrote:
> All I shared with you is my experience at New River and further north
> in Coos County Dave and Kathy live right in the area where the
> green-backed males of varying percentage of green on their backs seem
> to be in very good number. I would say that they are the majority of
> breeding Selasphorus at New River. Yep, no genetic work has been done
> but it sure seems like it would be a good area to try and do some.
> When I do see all green-backed males doing Allen's type displays I
> have been calling them Allen's- maybe 10% of the birds at New River.
> When I have seen all red-backed males doing Rufous type displays at
> New River I have been calling them Rufous (maybe 10% of the breeders
> after the migrants have passed through). That leaves the other 80%
> that are head scratchers. I see the same variability over in the
> Coquille River valley and up the SF of the Coquille to Powers. I have
> seen Allen's type displays at 2,200' in Eden Valley near Mt. Bolivar
> in SE Coos. Also, most of the green-backed birds I see at New river
> do Allen's type displays but I have seen a very few do Rufous type
> displays.
> I don't spend a lot of time elsewhere in Oregon during the mid-March
> to mid-May period but I assume green-backed Selasphorus are a lot less
> common further north along the coast and in the Willamette Valley-
> right? If one goes down to Brookings during that period it seems to be
> all Allen's and is certainly that way down into CA.
> Yeah maybe they should be lumped but no one has gone there yet for
> whatever reason. I think the south coast would be a fascinating place
> to do some graduate research on these two sister species, hint hint.
> Enjoy!
> Tim R
> Coos Bay
> On Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 6:49 PM, DJ Lauten and KACastelein
> <deweysage...> <mailto:<deweysage...>> wrote:
> I agree 100% and I have been saying so for years. We live on the
> supposedly line between Allen's and Rufous, just north of Bandon
> and the Coquille river. Both types of males display in our yard.
> Cheers
> Dave Lauten
> On 3/13/2017 5:49 PM, Mike Patterson wrote:
> It's been a while since I checked the literature, but the
> occurrence
> of RufousxAllen's hybrids has to my knowledge, never been clearly
> demonstrated. This is not to say that hybrids have not been
> reported.
> They have, but given the difficulty of sorting clear hybrid traits
> from the statistical noise of variability in these two very
> closely
> related sister taxa, I suspect only genetic evidence would be
> definitive. It's possible this work has been done, but I haven't
> seen the paperwork.
> Rufous Hummingbird males show green backs, sometimes VERY
> green backs,
> so having a green back does not a hybrid make. I'm not even
> convinced
> that intermediate flight displays would get you there.
> And just for the record, there is a small group of taxonomists who
> believe they should be lumped, anyway.
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