HOME: www.hiltonpond.org

(2 September 2000)

All photos & text © Hilton Pond Center

On 31 August 2000, Hilton Pond Center received a message from W.C. and Pauline Gladden of Richburg (Chester County, SC), stating that a "brown" hummingbird was coming to their backyard feeders. The Gladdens had attended a "Hummingbird Mornings" presentation given in August by Center director Bill Hilton Jr. at Stacy's Greenhouses in York SC.

A subsequent phone conversation between Hilton and the Gladdens revealed that the "brown" hummer was actually rusty in color, especially at the base of its tail. These characteristics indicated the bird was probably a Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus).

Because the Gladdens invited Hilton to observe and perhaps band the bird, he journeyed to Richburg on the afternoon of 2 September. After setting up a pull-string trap and baiting it with one of the Gladden's feeders, Hilton was able to trap the bird within 20 minutes. In the hand, it was readily apparent that the bird was an immature male Rufous, based on rusty feathers in its tail, crown and back, as well as a few metallic orange feathers in the throat.

Assuming this bird survives its first winter, by next spring its gorget will be filled completely with metallic feathers, and the entire back, head, and flanks will be rusty. Adult female Rufous superficially resemble female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris), but a close view of the Rufous will show a rusty base to the tail and light rust on the flanks.

The bird received federal band number Y14740. It was observed at a feeder several times after banding, and all day on 3 September. It was last seen by the Gladdens about mid-morning on 4 September. In addition to the Rufous, 15 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds were also banded at the Gladden's residence.

Rufous Hummingbirds are perhaps the most common of the "western vagrant" hummingbirds to visit South Carolina. The Rufous breeds mainly in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, British Columbia, or southern Alaska, and overwinters in central Mexico. For the past decade or so, autumn has usually brought one or two reports of a Rufous somewhere in the state, and one occasionally spends the winter.

Thanks to the Gladdens for this opportunity to observe, capture, and band their Rufous Hummingbird. An article about the banding appeared in The Herald, Rock Hill SC, on 7 September. Click here to read the text of the article.

All photos © Hilton Pond Center
For much more information about hummingbirds, visit
Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project

Up to Top of Page

Back to This Week at Hilton Pond

Back to Vagrant & Winter Hummingbird Banding

Back to What's New?

Current Weather Conditions at Hilton Pond Center

If you found this information useful or interesting, please

Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History
It's painless, and YOU can make a difference!

Just CLICK on a logo below.

Make direct donations on-line through
Network for Good:
Donate a portion of your purchase price from 500+ top on-line stores via iGive:
Use your PayPal account
to make direct donations:

You can also
post questions for
The Piedmont Naturalist

Search Engine for
Hilton Pond Center

Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.