Saturday, December 21, 2013

Seeing Rufous

Rufous Hummingbirds breed in the Northwest, from high elevations in the Rockies up along the Pacific Coast, all the way to southeast Alaska.  They range further north than any other hummingbird species.  Increasingly, these birds have foregone their typical wintering grounds in Mexico for the American South.  More and more feeders are put out every winter, and more and more Rufous Hummingbirds (and other hummers, in lesser numbers) are found in North Carolina.  

The cooperative immature male Rufous Hummingbird.
I was lucky enough to see one Saturday morning, on the shortest day of the year.  Lena Gallitano was gracious enough to allow myself and my usual counterparts, Sam and Edward, to visit her home, where she has two Rufous Hummingbirds visiting her feeders.  She has an amazingly "birdy" yard, filled with feeders of all kinds.  We saw both hummers almost immediately after arriving - a female and an immature male.  The male bird gave us excellent looks - we admired his beautiful rusty-red plumage.  Rufous Hummingbird makes 190 species of birds for me in Wake County this year - a number I couldn't have imagined back in January.  

On our way back through Lena's yard, we looked up to see a striking male Baltimore Oriole sitting in a tree.  I'm always shocked at just how orange orioles are - they almost glow.  The three of us couldn't have been happier.  It looks like I'll be heading to the Outer Banks in a few days, hoping to pick up a few last-minute birds before the year is over.  Stay tuned!
Baltimore Oriole - another terrible photo of a really cool bird.

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