Date: 9/1/19 2:23 pm
From: DAVID A LEATHERMAN <daleatherman...>
Subject: [cobirds] Grandview Cemetery (aka "Hummingbird University"), Fort Collins (Larimer)
As you may know, I spend a lot of time at Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins. It is my school and the birds teach me every visit. Probably hummingbirds have taught the most. The other day I shared photos of a Calliope Hummingbird in a serviceberry sapling near a patch of Zauschneria at the Friedmann home one block east of the cemetery. This tiny bird had a small set of round, pink feathers in the middle of the throat. I guessed it was a young female based on pics in the various relevant field guides. My friend Dave Steingraeber said the pic better matched one of a young male he had in one of his books, and I sent out a second post about this "sex change". Then last Wednesday I got an email from Steve Bouricius, noted hummingbird student and bander, formerly of Boulder County now residing near Grand Junction. Below is the photo of the individual in question followed by a block of quotes from Steve:

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"I saw your post to Cobirds about the Calliope. I didn't see any previous posts about it but would offer my two cents worth. The photo colors seem to be true and the few pinkish purple spots in the lower center of the throat are typical of about 13% of adult female Calliopes. It's a common gotcha because the field guides don't address the anomaly.

A juvenile male would have spots of the same deep magenta red color of the adult male, and they might be more randomly distributed around the throat. Earlier this week we saw a juvenile male with a single elongated iridescent magenta feather off to the side of the gorget. Juvenile female Calliopes don't have iridescent spots in the gorget, or at least we've never seen one with them. This bird is also lightly spotted, typical of females, and it lacks the "five O'clock shadow", or dark collection of spots at the sides of the gorget that a juvenile male would have.

While the view is only from the front, the retrices appear worn which one would expect in an adult female, and not so often in juveniles. A good image of the green back and crown could reveal buffy feather edges if it is a juvenile. In the frontal view I don't see buffy feather edges on the crown, again leading me to think adult female. An in-hand examination of any bill striations along the maxilla (a juvenile characteristic), and of the color of the basal sides of the R1 retrices would age and sex the bird positively. These aren't visible except in the hand. Even so, I'm thinking another sex change is in the bird's future, and that handsome gal could be several years old." Steve Bouricius


So, there you have it.


Day before yesterday (8/3019) I saw another CAHU eyeing the Friedmann's Zauschneria flower patch. I am sure this is a different individual and looks typical of what the books show for "female" and which has no pinkish spots among the greenish ones on the throat. To be safe I am going to called this a "female/immature" of unspecified age.




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Then today, 1 September2019 I heard a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird within the cemetery proper in the same exact area as I had one the other day. I became suspicious and soon located a nest with two young! This nest is 4 feet above the ground, leans precariously and is next to a paved road. Breeding Bird Atlas 2 states "Nest with young records ranged from 31 May through 23 August." The BBA1 publication lists the latest "nest with young" date as August 10.


So, Broad-tailed Hummingbird nests at Grandview have now schooled us, thusly: 1) this species can have two broods (previously speculated but not proven); 2) individual nests can be used in as many as 4 consecutive years (ties the published longevity for use of the same nest); 3) fledged young have a unique "contact" note unrecorded until Nick Komar did so in 2017; and 4) the "nest with young" extreme at the end of the nesting season is extended by at least a week into early September. Hummingbird University, indeed.


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Broad-tailed Hummingbird nestlings on 1September2019, in Colorado blue spruce, Grandview Cemetery, Fort Collins.


Dave Leatherman

Fort Collins



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