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Ruby-throated in Central Colorado???

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Old Wednesday 10th August 2005, 21:14   #1
buckskin hawk
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Ruby-throated in Central Colorado???

My sister lives in Leadville Colorado. The elevation is 10,200 and at her home it is around 8,000. She has a hummingbird feeder and last week I was able to visit her. We watched many broadtailed and some rufous enjoy the feeder. She had what appears to be a third type -- I wanted to call it a black chinned but the throat was red like a ruby thraoted. It didn't have any white tips on the tail - just a totally black tail.

Could these be ruby throated that far west and this high? Is it a juvenile?
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Old Wednesday 10th August 2005, 22:00   #2
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That would be in the range for Broad-tailed: Selasphorous platycerpus. Has a red throat, green head, black tail feathers, green and buffy belly. Sibley notes white line from chin to eye-ring to neck. What was different about hummer #3? Sibley shows one green dot for Rubythroat in mid Colorado indicating occurrence. Barbara

Last edited by BarbaraM : Wednesday 10th August 2005 at 22:04.
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Old Wednesday 10th August 2005, 23:06   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbaraM
That would be in the range for Broad-tailed: Selasphorous platycerpus. Has a red throat, green head, black tail feathers, green and buffy belly. Sibley notes white line from chin to eye-ring to neck. What was different about hummer #3? Sibley shows one green dot for Rubythroat in mid Colorado indicating occurrence. Barbara
This third group didn't have any white tips on the tail and the tail shape seemed to be straight and not as rounded. They had no wing buzz and were the last in the pecking order at the feeder. When they were not in the light, their throat appeared very dark and a deep red only appeared when the light hit the throat. My sister said that the town's people told her they were Ruby throats and with a sample of a dozen of their hummers, two or three would be this third variety so they aren't rare. The wings also didn't lay on the back as neatly as they did on the Broad tailed when they were perched. These hummers were more slender and had a slight curve to the bill.

We attempted several pictures and perhaps I can get them posted later.
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 03:50   #4
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I have heard (but can't cite any sources) that various species of hummingbirds are expanding into new areas. It isn't clear why but the major theory is that with so many people providing sugar nectar year-round it makes it possible. Do you know if there have been female Ruby-Throats seen? ID of females would appear to be that squarish tail shape.

The Peterson Guide to Hummingbirds of North America also says Ruby Throat is vagrant in Colorado in April, May and July (also reports they have been seen in California (!) in August and Sept). The southern Fall migration is overland and so further west than the northern Spring migration that goes over the Gulf. Also, adult males migrate south first, so perhaps some of the boys from the furthest west part of the northern range (pretty far west in southern Canada to Alberta) are already headed south and taking the western route with a stopover in the historic town of Leadville. Barbara
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Old Friday 12th August 2005, 19:51   #5
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According to the Colorado Bird Records Committee checklist of review species, as of 2002 there have only been 3 accepted records of Ruby-throats in the state. Not that there couldn't have been more since then (this is just what I found on their website); Anna's (another "dark-headed" hummer but whose throat AND head are red in the right light) has only 7 accepted records for CO. But as Barbara has said, it does seem highly unlikely that what you're seeing is anything other than a Broad-tailed.

Look forward to any photos you might be able to get of your hummer!
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Old Sunday 14th August 2005, 04:01   #6
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Originally Posted by Katy Penland
According to the Colorado Bird Records Committee checklist of review species, as of 2002 there have only been 3 accepted records of Ruby-throats in the state. Not that there couldn't have been more since then (this is just what I found on their website); Anna's (another "dark-headed" hummer but whose throat AND head are red in the right light) has only 7 accepted records for CO. But as Barbara has said, it does seem highly unlikely that what you're seeing is anything other than a Broad-tailed.

Look forward to any photos you might be able to get of your hummer!
I have the photos now but they are too large to attach. I get that error message. This is my first attempt at uploading photos. Do I need to zip them and then upload? Do any special instructions exist? The photos of the hummers aren't the best quality but you can't see the ruby throated. One of the photos have six hummers on the feeder and we counted as many at 10 on it at one time.

My sister and most of the locals in Leadville truely believe they are ruby throated but I bet they are broadtails. Are the juvenile broad tailes any different. Does someone know where I can find a picture?

Thanks for the help!
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Old Sunday 14th August 2005, 05:51   #7
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Nope, don't zip them, just open them in whatever imaging software you use, then look for a button on the toolbar for "edit" or "image" or "format" where you can resize each photo. They need to be no larger than 800 x 800 pixels, or no more than 800 pixels on the longest side. BirdForum supports a number of formats, but JPG is probably the most common. Save it in its new size, close the image, and then try uploading. If you have any problems, just yell.
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Old Sunday 14th August 2005, 12:18   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckskin hawk
This third group didn't have any white tips on the tail and the tail shape seemed to be straight and not as rounded. They had no wing buzz and were the last in the pecking order at the feeder. When they were not in the light, their throat appeared very dark and a deep red only appeared when the light hit the throat. My sister said that the town's people told her they were Ruby throats and with a sample of a dozen of their hummers, two or three would be this third variety so they aren't rare. The wings also didn't lay on the back as neatly as they did on the Broad tailed when they were perched. These hummers were more slender and had a slight curve to the bill.

We attempted several pictures and perhaps I can get them posted later.
I'll wait for the photos, but this does NOT sound like a Ruby-throated. Why? You say "the tail shape seemed to be straight, not as rounded". The male Ruby-throated, which is the only one that would have a red throat and all hummingbirds the throat only shows color whten the light hits it right, has a FORKED tail that is distinctly forked. Don't know what you are seeing but I would be very surprised if it is a Ruby-throated given the description.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird is notorious for holding their wings ABOVE their body when perched. However, behaviors generally are not a strong field mark since not every bird will be the same all the time, as I think your community might be seeing. To be seeing as much as 17% of the birds you are seeing as a species that the state Bird Records Committee considers a rare species based on years of records is unlikely to say the least.

The red in the two species is distinctly different.

The wing whir that will be heard from the male Broad-tailed is distinctive as well.

Mark
Bastrop, TX

Last edited by humminbird : Sunday 14th August 2005 at 12:20.
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Old Tuesday 16th August 2005, 13:51   #9
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Okay I finely was able to get these pictures resized but I can't find any of the birds in question. They are the least dominate and were being chased by the Broadtails and the Rufous. The pictures were taken by one of my teens with his new camera. These pictures do show the mob around the feeder which was constant.

This is the only feeder that my sister has left after the bear found the other one that was at the living room window.

Does anyone have a picture of a braod tailed juvenile? Do their white spots on the end of their tail appear later than the red on their throat? It seems that the most likely id is a juvenile broad tail for my third category.

I also have included a picture of a fledging painted redstart we found along one of the trails we took in Zion National Park. Utah.
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Last edited by buckskin hawk : Tuesday 16th August 2005 at 14:03.
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Old Wednesday 17th August 2005, 02:52   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buckskin hawk
Okay I finely was able to get these pictures resized but I can't find any of the birds in question. They are the least dominate and were being chased by the Broadtails and the Rufous. The pictures were taken by one of my teens with his new camera. These pictures do show the mob around the feeder which was constant.

This is the only feeder that my sister has left after the bear found the other one that was at the living room window.

Does anyone have a picture of a braod tailed juvenile? Do their white spots on the end of their tail appear later than the red on their throat? It seems that the most likely id is a juvenile broad tail for my third category.

I also have included a picture of a fledging painted redstart we found along one of the trails we took in Zion National Park. Utah.
The white tip on the tail of juveniles is part of the female like plumage they have on fledging - not something that appears later. This is lost in the males with the first fall molt - but the females retain it on subsequent molts.

Mark
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Old Wednesday 17th August 2005, 03:19   #11
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They must be male juvenile Broad tails. Thanks. My Sibley's doesn't show this and I just wondered. Thanks! My sister is now interested in posting mre photos from her feeders and nest boxes.
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