Date: 10/22/19 3:11 am From: reeser <reeser...> Subject: Hummingbird(s) 10/21/19 and question -- Cumberland County
We had two separate hummingbird visits today Monday 10/21/19. One just after noon and one closer to 6 PM.
1) The earlier visit was a hummer that was sitting at the top of the pear tree, facing forward, slight back lighting. What was interesting about this bird was it appeared to have a longer than usual, sort of squared off tail that dropped well below the tiny branch that it was sitting on. The tail just looked dark. With 10 binoculars it was a bit far away and not best lighting for more detail. The front of the bird from below the beak down the front appeared to be basically white, maybe slightly off white at the sides. Did not notice any color or odd shape to the beak, it looked dark. And it looked like it had a slight double white chin (maybe bulked up for migration?).
Maybe this was a young male ruby throated with its tail not neatly folded while perched, but I don't recall seeing that much tail on other ruby throated hummers. But just not quite close enough or the best lighting to know what was going on with that tail. It was like someone attached a small bird non hummer tail to a hummer. But it was a hummer, the long slender bill, the wings and flight when it took off, no doubt at all that it was a hummer.
2) The later visit was another hummer that also sat in the same spot at the top of the pear tree, but until I got the binoculars he had taken off, so I could not compare what he looked like to the earlier visitor in that same spot. We did however get a good look at him through the binoculars a few seconds later as he visited the much closer salvia greggi flowers. He looked like a young or female possible ruby throated. Greenish on back, whitish on front, normal tail length (could not see base or tips of tail, he did not fan it), a bit darker near the eye, a bit of white in back of the eye, and as far as we could tell a normal ruby throated type beak that looked dark and not really curved.
3) I can't state definitively that this bird or birds are ruby throated because we had a Selasphorus here one November that basically looked like at least the second bird through binoculars but a much better person at ID told us that it was a Selasphorus.
4) We'll try to look for him/her again on Tuesday but rain is expected. Today was sunny and clear, a little cool. It's getting a bit late for a ruby throated hummingbird which is why I'm starting to question my ID skills on this bird(s).
5) Has anyone ever spotted a ruby throated with what appeared to be a longer, squared off tail? Could it just have been unfolded when perched? Or don't they really ever perch with their tail like that (I've not seen it before, I've seen them stretch out their wings, fix their feathers, pick up a foot to scratch their head, fan their tail but then fold it back up).
Saw on ebird there was another PA ruby throated sighting on 10/19/19 closer to Erie, PA, so at least one other bird was in PA this weekend.