Date: 6/21/19 7:33 am
From: Tim Rodenkirk <timrodenkirk...>
Subject: [obol] Re: So You Think You have Seen Allen's Hummer in OR?
I don't think people know exactly how far inland the hybrids go but I know
that during the study they planned on going inland to look for hybrids. I
have definitely seen hybrids at high elevations in Coos. It is a real mix,
I just think the old paradigm of going south in Curry to get your annual
Allen's may not be as easy as people use to think. Getting a good look at
a male's back to assess the amount of green can be tricky for sure. Also,
since display's alone are not definitive, I imagine that most eBird entries
for these species in Coos and Curry should be just Rufous/Allen's. It will
be interesting to have observers looking more closely at these Curry males
to see how common or uncommon entirely green-backed males are?

There are still lots of unanswered questions, I just wanted to get the word
out so that eBird users know that they will have to have a fairly good
observation, including an entirely green-back, for making sure they did not
see a hybrid (actually I am trying to convince Russ Namitz of this since he
is officially vetting all the south coast data, I think we would not be
able to go back and check all the gazillion Allen's observations but would
have to start on new observations as of whatever date Russ may want to
choose).. In southern Coos the hybrids are super common, I (as well as
other observers) have been seeing them for the last 20 years regularly.
There are definite hybrids all the way inland to Coquille, Myrtle Point,
Powers and further up the SF of the Coquille (based on Allen's type display
with limited green on the back).

I think that any green-backed male that shows up outside of Coos/Curry
could also be a hybrid, so documenting the color of the back and display
dives if possible will be helpful to assess if it is a hybrid or not.

Courtney Kelly Jett sent me a photo of what I would call a classic hybrid-
hopefully she will share it with OBOL.


On Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 8:12 PM Alan Contreras <acontrer56...> wrote:

> That’s a pretty large hybrid zone.
> Is tail feather shape definitive for either species or do we know?
> There is a related question, which is whether birds breeding in interior
> sw Oregon and in the Kalmiopsis highlands are pure Rufous.
> Alan Contreras
> Eugene, Oregon
> <acontrer56...>
> On Jun 20, 2019, at 8:03 PM, Tim Rodenkirk <timrodenkirk...> wrote:
> Hi All,
> Thought it was high time to have a discussion about Allen's Hummer in OR.
> Recent research (Research - Brian Myers
> <>)
> on the south coast and into CA finds that the hybrid zone for
> Rufous/Allen's Hummers runs from Florence, OR to Arcata, CA- Wow! I don't
> have any more in depth info on the study but I bet he would be interested
> in getting e-mails on his study- I know he mist-netted and collected many
> birds as well as collected DNA info on birds he did not actually collect.
> Further the research talks about how the display dive given by the hybrids
> is variable. The study "found" (certain south coast birders have known for
> many years) that the center of the hybrid zone is from Bandon to Port
> Orford. Arch McCallum also did some recording work and found hybrids in the
> Bandon to Port Orford area before this research.
> I did point counts at New River, Coos which is within the center of the
> hybrid zone. This was from 1996 through 2010. During this time I literally
> saw hundreds of male Selasphorus (Rufous/Allen's). In order to ID them
> better, after surveys, I set up a spotting scope. Once you figure out a
> breeding male's perches, it is relatively easy to get a scope on them so
> you can see back color. This is something I think most birders would never
> do since it takes some time before you can figure out perches and actually
> see the birds, with their backs facing you, on the perch. In 90+% of the
> time the birds doing Allen's type displays only had partially green-backs
> which confused me since the field guides show a completely green-back for
> male Allen's.
> What the research shows and what I noted was although you may see a male
> Selasphorus doing an Allen's type display, it could still be a hybrid.
> That means that in addition to seeing the display you need to get really
> good looks at its back to decide if it is a hybrid or not (totally
> green-backed or only partially green-backed, see field guides).
> In recent years I think Coos birders have become more wary of this and
> thus the Rufous/Allen's filter on eBird. I now think this filter should be
> extended to Curry and, well, all of Oregon. I speculate (!) that when
> birders go down to Brookings and see an Allen's type display from a male
> Selasphorus they say ka-ching, got my yearly Allen's. I think we need more
> close scrutiny of these purported Allen's Hummers in southern Curry- are
> they really "pure" Allen's- maybe some, but are there many hybrids- does
> anybody really look closely at what percent of the back is green or even
> know that partially green-backed birds are likely hybrids?
> As for females, say you have a feeder in Brookings with an obvious male
> Allen's with a female, how would you be able to tell if the female was an
> Allen's, Rufous, or hybrid if separating male and female Rufous/Allen's is
> mostly impossible without great tail photos or a bird in hand? In other
> words, how can you safely say that any female or young birds are Rufous or
> Allen's in Coos and Curry? I had a male Rufous/Allen's in my yard the last
> three years (not this year). It did a mostly Allen's type display the first
> year and I was convinced that was what it was; however, when likely the
> same bird came back the second and third year it would alternate Allen's
> and Rufous displays and well it was maybe 75% green-backed- ugh! I see that
> Allen's Hummers are routinely reported in southern Curry on eBird, sometime
> in number with no notes, this really bothers me. Obviously birders assuming
> that Selasphorus are Allen's because, well, that's what we have in Curry
> right? Maybe they saw a male display, but did they check the color on the
> back- I bet rarely.
> I forgot to mention that at New River I saw completely red-backed Rufous
> looking birds doing Allen's displays. I have seen the same at the base of
> Mt. Bolivar (3,000' elevation) in SE Coos.
> So, what I am hoping to convince Russ Namitz of, our South Coast eBirder
> reviewer (with way to much input from me, a non-eBirder but maybe someday),
> is to put a year round filter on Allen's on the south coast. In addition,
> I have read from researchers, that in the old field guides that said 5% of
> Rufous could have some green on their back, that these are just likely
> hybrids. Such confusion! Anyhow, I think any purported Allen's Hummer
> would have to be a male and would need supporting observations to be
> accepted on eBird. I know, this is a total paradigm shift for many long
> time OR birders, but your lifer Allen's just may have been a hybrid!
> In my opinion this may end up meaning that if Joe Jones in Brookings has a
> "good" Allen's at his feeder, birders, who want to get an Allen's and not a
> hybrid for their year or life list, will go to his feeder. Pure Allen's in
> OR could be a pretty tough bird? I have seen them in Coos but I have
> looked at hundreds if not thousands of males through spotting scopes on
> their perches and watched their dives, something future birders probably
> should be doing to find a "pure" Allen's (if not just camping out at a
> feeder where a male is known to be).
> I hope we can find out more about the hybrid zone in Curry- careful
> observation of males by OR birders in the next decade could really
> enlighten us to what is going on with these species in Curry County.
> Expecting some feedback...
> Tim Rodenkirk
> Coos Bay

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