Date: 1/10/18 10:40 am From: GRIGGS, JERRY <griggs...> Subject: Yard Activity, Columbia SC,; status of Hummingbird
A female Selasphorous Hummingbird has been coming to our feeder and working our back yard since November 29. It is quite active and vocal. We believe it is the same bird we hosted as an immature last winter, from late November through the end of March, departing just ahead of the arriving Ruby-throats. We call her Haley, short for Haley Selassie.
Without banding, it is tough to determine the species, Allen's or the more common Rufous, both Western species. They sound the same, and the females look the same, except for some differences in the tail feathers. It happens that on January 1st (the hummer was the first bird I identified this year!), the freezing cold brought other birds to sip water from the ant wells on our hummer feeder, and Haley chased them off. She first displayed her bright tail to scare them, and I got good photos, posted now on the CBC site at
Based on the concave tapering of the R2 feathers, and the width of the outer R5 feathers (similar to the others, not narrower), she is Rufous. (I checked with Susan Campbell to confirm the ID.)
At that site, you can also see my other photos, including more of Haley, as well as our other current rare visitor, a beautiful Yellow-throated Warbler. That bird seems to prefer my wife's suet, as well as abundant sap oozing from Sapsucker holes in a nearby Red Maple.
As we have read, the severe cold took a toll on hummers in the Carolinas. Another Rufous-type Hummer spending its second winter in Brevard N.C. disappeared Thursday. Luckily, keeping a lamp on the feeder, and frequently swapping in a fresh liquid one, kept Haley going in our Columbia yard.
I only learned today from a neighbor about the Snowy Owl that visited his brother's yard across the Lake Murray dam from us in Lexington S.C. last Saturday (reported in The State). Wish I'd seen that!