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What happened to this Hummingbird????

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Old Sunday 2nd September 2018, 14:41   #1
Chirpy1971
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What happened to this Hummingbird????

Im extreamly troubled by this hummingbird I spotted at my feeder yesterday.
I believe it is a Ruby Throated but there is obviously something wrong.

Here are some pics of the poor girl :(

I’m guessing she was either injured or has a birth defect


Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you !
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2018, 15:07   #2
Chirpy1971
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Here is another pic next to one of my regulars.

I also want to mention that I watched the short one land on a branch so I know his feet are intact.
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2018, 15:19   #3
KC Foggin
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I've never seen anything like this in all the years I have watched these little jewels. My thoughts are either she is going through a moult or something attacked her and she wound up losing her tail. Thankfully, she can still fly.

BTW, a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2018, 15:48   #4
Hauksen
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Hi KC,

Quote:
Originally Posted by KC Foggin View Post
My thoughts are either she is going through a moult or something attacked her and she wound up losing her tail.
No idea about hummingbirds, but I've been told some species of birds can lose feathers in a stress-induced "shock moult", for example when attacked.

Regards,

Henning
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2018, 16:35   #5
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“Shock-molt” was my first thought also. Chirpy, can you tell if the missing tail has any effect on the flight?
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Old Sunday 2nd September 2018, 17:27   #6
Chirpy1971
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fugl View Post
“Shock-molt” was my first thought also. Chirpy, can you tell if the missing tail has any effect on the flight?
She only made one visit. Her maneuvering seemed normal, I just though she was small. However, once I viewed the photos I knew something wasn’t right. I thought it was a different species but found nothing on the web.

It appears more than just feathers missing, that’s part of their lower body down there, isn’t it?
I would imagine her fligh or maneuvering have been compromised at some level, although not witnessed. If she had been attacked and sustained that much damage, could she have survived the trauma ?

Other possibility is a birth defect and she learned to adapt. Like a 3 legged dog?

I’m glad she can fly, but wow, never though something like this wold be so upsetting.

love these little guys

Last edited by Chirpy1971 : Sunday 2nd September 2018 at 18:47.
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Old Monday 3rd September 2018, 03:08   #7
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Not as abnormal as you may think. I have a collection of what
I call my potato friends that were inspired by molting Great-taileds
which generally molt all their tail feathers at one time.

This is not the first hummer I have seen like the one you posted.
I agree with the observation that it was a "shock molt" and that
the bird will do fine.

A couple of my potato friends attached.

http://hollandwest.com/potatoes/
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Old Monday 3rd September 2018, 03:57   #8
Lisa W
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I reached out to Sheri Williamson the author of the Peterson’s Guide to Hummingbirds and she said:
“There is a remote possibility it is a genetic or developmental defect, but most likely it was a very close encounter with a predator. Partial to complete loss of the tail feathers is common, but loss of the coverts as well indicates the bird barely escaped with its life.”
Very interesting, poor girl.
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Old Wednesday 5th September 2018, 13:26   #9
Chirpy1971
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa W View Post
I reached out to Sheri Williamson the author of the Peterson’s Guide to Hummingbirds and she said:
“There is a remote possibility it is a genetic or developmental defect, but most likely it was a very close encounter with a predator. Partial to complete loss of the tail feathers is common, but loss of the coverts as well indicates the bird barely escaped with its life.”
Very interesting, poor girl.


Thank you Lisa. I appreciate your reaching out to Sheri. Ive been watching these little guys for the first time this summer and I believe I had a very successful feeder. I purchased a new camera just for the hummers and I've taken hundreds of photos of them. Just fascinating creatures as we all know.
I haven't see that little girl again, guess she was just passing through.
I also agree with the shock molt theory or attack from a predetor.

She seemed in good spirits and I am grateful for her visit to my feeder.

Id also like to thank everyone who responded. I most definitely came to the right place!

God Bless and happy birding!!
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Old Wednesday 5th September 2018, 16:24   #10
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I saw a sparrow without tail near home last month.

It seemed to be perfectly fine, maybe a tiny bit unstable when flying but otherwise coping without trouble.
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Old Monday 17th September 2018, 23:02   #11
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I saw a hummer (also a female) last summer that had no tail, either. It actually took me a few seconds to figure out why she looked odd. She seemed to manage to fly pretty well without tail feathers, coming up to feed at a feeder competently. She had no visible damage, just had no long tail feathers.

This summer, I had one hummer that only had a couple of long tail feathers left. That made me more comfortable with the idea that it was molting as opposed to having been attacked by a predator. I've also seen a couple birds with somewhat raggedly wings that were missing a long feather or two. In fact, I found what was either a long tail or wing feather just below a feeder the other day, possibly lost during an aerial battle with another bird. They can be vicious to each other.
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Old Friday 12th October 2018, 17:16   #12
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Hey @Chirpy1971 ! I had a little guy show up at my house on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 who also did not have a tail.

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/feat...om-t37295.html

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y15...8%20-%2002.jpg
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