Date: 3/20/17 9:56 am
From: GRIGGS, JERRY <griggs...>
Subject: Continuing Selasphorous Hummers NC, SC
A Rufous/Allen's Hummingbird that had been coming to our feeder and yard in Columbia, SC, since Thanksgiving disappeared soon after my last report of yard activity a month ago. But after ten days, my wife thought she saw a hummer in our yard, and then a few days later (two weeks ago) a hummer resumed regular feeder and yard activity. It is still around, despite a spell of several more nights in the low 20's.

Based on its activity and plumage pattern, we believe it is the same Selasphorous Hummingbird we hosted all winter. It has grown just a few more dark/reflective gorget feathers on its throat. It has a line of several small dark feathers, a thin dark choker above a wider white band across the lower throat, which in turn is above the more rufous/orange flanks and breast. The back is still mainly green. Photos are posted on eBird. It has not developed adult male plumage, so I continue to suspect this bird we call Haley is a female. We never get a view of Haley's tail feathers, to decide which species it is.

A similar bird continues to visit a yard and feeders up in downtown Brevard, NC. The owner has lately observed that bird acting aggressively towards other birds, behavior I associate particularly with Rufous Hummers out west. By contrast, if our hummer discovers a Chickadee or Titmouse drinking water from the ant-trap above our hummer feeder, the hummer merely hovers and waits, but does not chase off the "intruder". I keep thinking Haley acts like a (wussy) Allen's. [Susan Campbell can set me straight on this behavioral analysis.]

Our fond hope is to see Haley interact with returning Ruby-throats (though I may miss the fun due to an upcoming trip...). We think our bird is fattening up now for the long migration trip west.

PS Other bird news: Now that the Carolina/USC/SC fighting chickens have exorcised the Devils in basketball (both Blue and Sun), we look forward to the men's and women's Sweet 16s! [Oops, I hope I'm not kicked off by the Carolinabirds server for crowing.]

Jerry Griggs, j at sc dot edu
Columbia, SC

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