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California Hummer ID -- not Anna's?

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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 01:06   #1
djleahy
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California Hummer ID -- not Anna's?

I'm so used to seeing Anna's Hummingbirds (and so infrequently see any other type) that I find that I don't look closely at them sometimes. I got a close look at this one, though, and between the paleness of the throat and belly, and especially the length of the wings, I think I've got something else. A female Costa's? Didn't seem small, though, and the beak seems hefty. I'd appreciate input from the experts.

Photographed today at Coyote Hills, Fremont, California. It was pretty sunny, so these shots are a bit over-exposed.
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 01:27   #2
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My guess is a female Cuban emerald, but I don't really know hummingbirds I just had a quick flick through my very old North American bird guide so I'd wait for the experts
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 01:41   #3
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I think it's a black-chinned. Are they still around in your part of CA?
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 01:49   #4
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Look like Black-chinned to me.
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 01:25   #5
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Black-chinned does seem like a good match! They are quite rare out here, I believe. More common in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, but as far as I know, not common by the San Francisco Bay. Not even on the bird list for the park (which only has Anna's, Allen's and Rufous).

Do you think it's an adult female, or a first year bird? And, is this likely to be a meandering migrating bird? How late in the year should these be seen this far North?
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 11:30   #6
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In Texas, I see Black-chinned 365 days a year every year.

Not a good match? How so? Long thin bill, gray green back with a hint of gold, tail that barely projects beyond the wingtips.

I'd be very surprised if this bird did not have a nice gray crown.

Can't see the white tail tips but with the very minimal "five o'clock shadow" this is a female imho.

Sibley does show all of California as summer range, but he also shows all of Arizona and all of Texas as summer only range. A look at page 12 of http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publicat...w7000_1033.pdf shows that the Black-chinned is clearly in south Texas through the winter while http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publicat...w7000_0869.pdf shows they are not unheard of in central Texas at the same time. I do not know CA birds well enough to comment on frequency or location there, but checklists I saw for the San Francisco area show the bird as a fall occurence.
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 14:48   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humminbird View Post
In Texas, I see Black-chinned 365 days a year every year.

Not a good match? How so? Long thin bill, gray green back with a hint of gold, tail that barely projects beyond the wingtips.

I'd be very surprised if this bird did not have a nice gray crown.

Can't see the white tail tips but with the very minimal "five o'clock shadow" this is a female imho.

Sibley does show all of California as summer range, but he also shows all of Arizona and all of Texas as summer only range. A look at page 12 of http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publicat...w7000_1033.pdf shows that the Black-chinned is clearly in south Texas through the winter while http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publicat...w7000_0869.pdf shows they are not unheard of in central Texas at the same time. I do not know CA birds well enough to comment on frequency or location there, but checklists I saw for the San Francisco area show the bird as a fall occurence.
Thanks again, Humminbird, for the input. I wrote that I thought it was a good match, I should have figured it out myself. They do seem to be a bit unusual right by San Francisco Bay, but more common quite nearby, so maybe not so surprising.
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 19:26   #8
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Sorry Dave. Guess I need to clean my new glasses once in a while.

Interestingly, 4 of the 5 field checklists I looked at for the San Francisco Bay area did not even list Black-chinned. I guess they are quite unusual in that area.
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 19:44   #9
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Here is a link to the eBird map showing Black-chinned Hummingbird reports in California (you may have to click on the "map" tab): http://ebird.org/ebird/GuideMe?sourc...tinue=Continue

There seem to be a fair number in the Bay Area if I have my California geography right. But certainly not an overwhelming number given that there are a lot of birders in that region.

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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 23:16   #10
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Most Black-chinned Hummingbirds have left the Bay Area by now. The last of the Black-chins are gone from California by the first week of October.

But don't Black-chins usually show narrow inner primaries? To me, all the primaries appear to be about the same width on your photos. The wide inner primaries and the grayish wash on the sides and lack of buff on the flanks would have led me to identify the bird as an Anna's Hummingbird if I had seen it myself.

Did you hear it call?
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Old Sunday 26th October 2008, 23:30   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmorlan View Post
Most Black-chinned Hummingbirds have left the Bay Area by now. The last of the Black-chins are gone from California by the first week of October.

But don't Black-chins usually show narrow inner primaries? To me, all the primaries appear to be about the same width on your photos. The wide inner primaries and the grayish wash on the sides and lack of buff on the flanks would have led me to identify the bird as an Anna's Hummingbird if I had seen it myself.

Did you hear it call?
Thanks for the input, Joe.

I didn't hear it call, nor did I see it fly, it just fidgeted a bit on its branch. With respect to the field marks, I defer to people who know better. My shot is over-exposed, so it shows a bit more white on the belly than was really there, but I thought that the lack of gray on the belly (just some gray on the sides) seemed odd for Anna's.
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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 01:16   #12
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Tail is too short IMO for Anna's, bill too long, flanks to "clean", throat too clean, etc.

Most Black-chinned are out of Texas now too according to a lot of books (including Sibley), but we still find them frequently. Most Ruby-throats are out of Michigan, but I got a file today from a bander that talked of them having left "early" this year - last two years he has had Ruby-throated well into November.

ID can not be based on "they are gone by now" - it has to be based on what we see. I do not see the diagnostic large gray cheek that is talked about in almost every field guide, and that I always see on Anna's.

IMO this is a Black-chinned.
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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 02:25   #13
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Hi All,

Hoping that Sheri will chime in here in the identity of this hummer. On the surface, the images impart a real Black-chinned fee to them (e.g. looking white below and having a narrow necked look). However, I too, suspect that it is not one. Most critically, as Joe points out, the wing shape doesn't seem to match up particularly well with a Black-chinned. The inner primaries do not look narrow enough, and the outermost two do not look thick enough nor curved enough. The bill is not as long as on many Black-chins. The pale tipping on the feathers of the upperparts suggests that the bird is a juvenile, and I can imagine a scenario where a young, slim, poorly marked juvenile Anna's getting hit by strong sunlight imparts a Black-chinned-like feel in some overexposed shots. I'm guessing it was a Calypte, but I'll leave it at that. Sheri!

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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 04:17   #14
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It's almost November. Any Hummingbird seen in the Bay Area is 99% to be an Anna's.
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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 12:56   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gentoo View Post
It's almost November. Any Hummingbird seen in the Bay Area is 99% to be an Anna's.
EBird supports that assessment. It reports no sightings of Black-chinned Hummingbird in the Bay Area in October, and only one in Northern California in that month. October 22 appears to be the latest eBird report of a Black-chinned Hummingbird in all of California. Not decisive of the ID of course, but reinforces the need to be cautious.

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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 15:20   #16
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Now that I'm more awake I took a closer look at this bird. the inner primaries appear to project about the same as the outer (lower) primaries in all of these shots. In the Black-Chinned, the inner primaries should be much narrower looking and the tips are a bit rounder. To me based on time of year and these factors, I'm going with Anna's.
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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 15:33   #17
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Ebird report disagrees with published records then. Peterson Field Guide Hummingbirds of North America shows northern California winter records.

I could buy Anna's except that I am seeing no conclusive typical Anna's coloration on this bird.
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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 16:07   #18
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Ebird report disagrees with published records then. Peterson Field Guide Hummingbirds of North America shows northern California winter records.
I am sure you understand, but just for others reading I just wanted to clarify. There is no real disagreement or contradiction here. EBird only shows records that people have taken the time to input into it (pardon the inelegant phraseology). It does not purport to contain all records, and will especially of course have fewer of the older, historical records that predate Internet times. But in the future, as its use becomes more widespread, I would expect it to become a comprehensive database containing pretty much all the significant sightings of recent times.

[EDIT: As I clarify in my post below, eBird does have winter California records for Black-chinned Hummingbird, in February and early March].

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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 16:46   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humminbird View Post
Ebird report disagrees with published records then. Peterson Field Guide Hummingbirds of North America shows northern California winter records.

Hi All,

This may be getting a bit off topic since it is only October, but perhaps a little clarification of the winter status of Black-chinned Hummingbird in Northern California is in order. I have reviewed comments in several references, but I'll begin with one of the most relevant. While it is now years out of date, the Birds of Northern California, an annotated field list, by McCaskie et al. (and one of the authors is none other than Joe Morlan) lists but one winter record for Black-chinned Hummingbird from 1964 in Pacific Grove.

The distribution section of Howell's Hummingbirds of North America states that BCHU depart by October and mentions overwintering records for southern California (i.e. no mention of overwintering in northern California).

Williamson's Hummingbirds of North America mentions that it may be underreported in CA in winter, but only specifically mentions southern CA. The only winter record for northern California cited is the one indicated with a blue diamond for the central valley on the range map.

I would say that a mid-October record of Black-chinned would be possible, but rather noteworthy. But throw in the apparent morphological inconsistencies, and it becomes a hard sell.

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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 17:12   #20
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Not to beat this to death, but I should clarify my previous statement regarding eBird records of Black-chinned Hummingbird in California. When I stated that the latest record was October 22, I was thinking in terms of that season as it was relevant to this discussion. EBird does have winter records for Black-chinned Hummingbird in California: one February record in Southern California, as well as records in March (most of which is technically winter), which also include some northern California records.

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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 17:20   #21
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I appreciate all the expert input here. These female hummingbirds are a challenge (too much of a challenge for me?)! I have categorized this sighting as Anna's. Next time I meet an interesting-looking hummingbird in October (or any other time!), I'll be sure to study it much more closely!
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Old Monday 27th October 2008, 17:28   #22
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I do not have any first hand knowledge of Anna's in California. I do not see that the morphological characteristics are as clearly Anna's as is contended, however I do concede that Anna's would be much more likely than Black-chinned.
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