Date: 3/15/17 5:05 am
From: Tim Rodenkirk <timrodenkirk...>
Subject: [obol] Re: Rufous x Allen's hybrids
Time to reel things in here : ) The only reason I posted what I did
originally was because of eBird postings of Allen's Hummers around Coos
Bay- likely because I mentioned seeing a good candidate in my yard and
because so many folks are down here to see the eider. I just wanted to make
it clear that the so-called Allen's normally occur from Bandon south.
Brookings south into CA is a good area to see birds people don't argue
about. From about Port Orford to Bandon things get murky. Coos Bay north
and most of the rest of W Oregon you have Rufous as your default

The report of 6 Allen's at Cape Arago on eBird (and no Rufous) was likely 6
Rufous but I don't know details.

The key is to get good looks at males and see displays to be sure- at least
with the criteria we have for ID now. Perhaps that will change in the
future but we are stuck with the current ID criteria until someone does
some more research.

Thanks all!
Tim R
Coos Bay

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, DJ Lauten and KACastelein <
<deweysage...> wrote:

> Tim,
> 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.
> Cheers
> 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...>
> <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','<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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