All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center
Cathey Bickley of Irmo SC considers herself lucky; she and husband Jake have had a wintering hummingbird--perhaps the same bird--in two of the last three years. Their 2001 hummer arrived in mid-November and has been a daily visitor to a feeder and various flowering plants in their suburban backyard near Columbia (Richland County).
Cathey sent Hilton Pond Center an e-mail note describing a hummer with bright buffy sides and a green back, so we planned a trip to Irmo for 23 December. We arrived at 7:45 a.m., set the trap, and had the hummer in hand within ten minutes.
It didn't take long to determine that the Bickley's bird was an adult female Rufus Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus. This hummer was in excellent shape, weighing in at 3.6g and with intensely buffy flanks (bottom photo), several bronzy-orange gorget feathers (right), a hint of rufous on the lower back (below left), and spotted undertail coverts (below right). It was the most brightly plumaged female Rufous Hummingbird ever banded by Center staff--perhaps indicating the bird was more than two years old, and lending support to the suggestion that it might be the same bird that visited the Bickleys in the winter of 1999-2000.
Other measurements included: wing chord 43.0, tail length 26mm (with a 6mm notch), and culmen length 18.5mm. Band number: Y14791. Thanks to Cathey (left) and Jake for letting us know about this hummer and for maintaining a diversely planted backyard habitat that would attract it.
your sightings of all
Vagrant & Winter Hummingbirds
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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.