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Selasphorus hummingbird in Pleasant Hill


Alan Bade
 

Hi folks- we had what I think might be an Allen's hummingbird at one of our feeders in southern Pleasant Hill. It was a female.Here's the ebird list with photos. https://ebird.org/checklist/S66386534

In one of my photos you can see a faint orange eyebrow which suggested to me an Allen's, as my Sibley guide calls out the orange eyebrow on the Allen's, but not the Rufous. But other photos don't show that much orange eyebrow. It wasn't that aggressive a bird, being wary of the Anna's that frequent the feeder. It did vocalize with a lot of chip calls. I would love anyone to take a look and tell me what you think. Any tips on differentiating are welcome! Last week we had a male Rufous (I decided Rufous because of the all orange back. It had green at the base of its' wings, but not on the back. Unfortunately no photos of the male).

I should say that we have a lot of native flowering plants in the garden right now, with salvias, ribes and some lilies attracting the hummers. They have good cover with oak trees to survey from.

We also had our regular white-throated sparrow along with it's small band of white-crowned sparrows. I'm definitely curious how long it will stay. It's got a good gig going with WBU no mess mix re-appearing on it's garden bricks, over and over. However, the crows have found our feeders as no surplus pizza is overflowing from the Round Table dumpster across the street.

Thanks in advance, Alan Bade
Pleasant Hill


Joe Morlan
 

I believe Rufous is more likely than Allen's in Pleasant Hill. Allen's
prefers coastal fog. That said, the females are not distinguishable in the
field unless you can see the shape of the tail feathers. One thing I've
noticed about Allen's is they often have somewhat elongated pointed tails
vs. the more rounded tail tip of Rufous.

E.g. https://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/alhu1010372.htm

BTW a percentage of Rufous Hummingbirds have green backs, so that mark is
not 100% reliable unless the back is all red.

Another point is that in the Bay Area Allen's arrive and depart earlier.
Some arriving in late January and gone by the end of August. Rufous don't
usually arrive until late February or March. Females and immatures migrate
in the Fall in good numbers throughout the Bay Area with the vast majority
of Selasphorus seen after early September being Rufous. In both species
the adult males don't stay around in the summer for nesting. Rufous males
migrate south in the mountains and Allen's along the coast, both wintering
in Mexico.

Anyway, if you put these into eBird, it may be best to chose the
Allen's/Rufous category instead of assuming one or the other. This is
particularly true after September when eBird reviewers tend to filter any
claims of Allen's and ask for details.


On Sun, 29 Mar 2020 21:41:46 -0700, "Alan Bade" <alanbade@...> wrote:

Hi folks- we had what I think might be an Allen's hummingbird at one of our feeders in southern Pleasant Hill. It was a female.Here's the ebird list with photos. https://ebird.org/checklist/S66386534

In one of my photos you can see a faint orange eyebrow which suggested to me an Allen's, as my Sibley guide calls out the orange eyebrow on the Allen's, but not the Rufous. But other photos don't show that much orange eyebrow.
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Mike Shannon
 



Sent from Xfinity Connect App
Hi Joe,

I am in Castro Valley, quite far from the fog and I am 100% certain that the hummers at my feeder are Allen’s. No doubt about it.  

Mike Shannon


------ Original Message ------

From: Joe Morlan
To: Alan Bade
Cc: EBB-Sightings@groups.io
Sent: March 30, 2020 at 8:57 AM
Subject: Re: [EBB-Sightings] Selasphorus hummingbird in Pleasant Hill

I believe Rufous is more likely than Allen's in Pleasant Hill. Allen's prefers coastal fog. That said, the females are not distinguishable in the field unless you can see the shape of the tail feathers. One thing I've noticed about Allen's is they often have somewhat elongated pointed tails vs. the more rounded tail tip of Rufous. E.g. https://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/alhu1010372.htm BTW a percentage of Rufous Hummingbirds have green backs, so that mark is not 100% reliable unless the back is all red. Another point is that in the Bay Area Allen's arrive and depart earlier. Some arriving in late January and gone by the end of August. Rufous don't usually arrive until late February or March. Females and immatures migrate in the Fall in good numbers throughout the Bay Area with the vast majority of Selasphorus seen after early September being Rufous. In both species the adult males don't stay around in the summer for nesting. Rufous males migrate south in the mountains and Allen's along the coast, both wintering in Mexico. Anyway, if you put these into eBird, it may be best to chose the Allen's/Rufous category instead of assuming one or the other. This is particularly true after September when eBird reviewers tend to filter any claims of Allen's and ask for details. On Sun, 29 Mar 2020 21:41:46 -0700, "Alan Bade" wrote: >Hi folks- we had what I think might be an Allen's hummingbird at one of our feeders in southern Pleasant Hill. It was a female.Here's the ebird list with photos. https://ebird.org/checklist/S66386534 > >In one of my photos you can see a faint orange eyebrow which suggested to me an Allen's, as my Sibley guide calls out the orange eyebrow on the Allen's, but not the Rufous. But other photos don't show that much orange eyebrow. -- Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Joe Morlan
 

On Mon, 30 Mar 2020 11:01:52 -0700, mikeshannon@... wrote:

I am in Castro Valley, quite far from the fog and I am 100% certain that the hummers at my feeder are Allen’s. No doubt about it.
Yes, Allen's breed between the Bay up into the East Bay hills. They also
breed at Coyote Hills and I think there may be recent nesting records in
the Diablo Range which doesn't get much fog. Allen's are locally common
breeders in Santa Clara County but mostly on the west slopes of the Santa
Cruz Mountains where the fog creeps over the ridges. I think they are
generally very scarce east of the East Bay Hills.

But this is just for breeding. All these rules go away after the end of
August when migrant Rufous become fairly common throughout the Bay Area.

A recent paper studied the hybrid zone between Rufous and Allen's on the
north coast of California and into Oregon. It seems like these two
hybridize extensively there and act more like one species than two. I'm not
aware of any formal proposals to lump them yet, but stay tuned.

https://www.biotechniques.com/veterinary/scientists-discover-hummingbird-hybrid-zone/
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Ethan Monk
 

Hi All,

Just to add a bit more of what I've noticed in Contra Costa County specifically the past few years, rather holistic and not scientific...

Allen's Hummingbirds generally are expected breeders in the coast range, but in most times of year become rare elsewhere in the county. In the areas where Allen's are expected (bay shore east to maybe West Briones or Lafayette?) they show up sometime in January and almost without exception are entirely absent from the county and the Bay Area by the start of August. The only two documented county records of Allen's Hummingbirds *in eBird* for Contra Costa from August or later are from my house, in Alamo, where I can easily take pictures of selasphorus tail feathers. Allen's, as far as I know, do not breed in the San Ramon Valley or Walnut Creek--Martinez lowland areas or anywhere East of there (except Bethel Island). In the San Ramon Valley, Allen's seem to come through as migrants in February/March and June/July. In the Diablo ranges, Allen's are uncommon during this period and are generally outnumbered by Rufous, at least for males, but female-types are often impossible to identify without feeder stations. At places that concentrate hummingbirds on Diablo, such as Mitchell Canyon, Allen's could/are be present in low numbers among Rufous, but I would caution most selasphorus are probably Rufous at this location, especially when most heavily birded April-May. The small Allen's breeding population at Bethel Island around Willowest Marina is present late January through maybe June?? I don't have much information on when they leave Bethel (and nearby Bradford, where they might breed as well.)

Rufous Hummingbirds are common migrants through much of the county and in central and east Contra Costa county should be expected over Allen's (although female types anywhere are best identified as Rufous/Allen's February-August, when both species can simultaneously occur in the county). At my house in Alamo, in the San Ramon Valley, Rufous Hummingbirds are common in Spring approx. February-May, and the Fall July-September, with two rather late October records. This seems to be the general time frame for occurrence of Rufous county-wide. Rufous can be common to abundant in these times in the San Ramon Valley and on Diablo, and should be certainly expected in other parts of the county as an uncommon to common migrant. (If anyone cares, this afternoon I had 5 males and 1 female Rufous at my house, and one Rufous/Allen's female, among 15 Anna's.)

Anyway, most of this is rather anecdotal and based on a narrower span of dates that I have been birding in Contra Costa, so could be flawed, but I think is fairly accurate. Additions/corrections welcome. Anyway, moral of the story, report Selasphorus as Allen's/Rufous if you don't have a diagnostic way to ID them.

Ethan


judisierra
 

Comments on what the CCCO Breeding Bird Atlas says would be appreciated.


On Monday, March 30, 2020, 07:39:15 PM PDT, Ethan Monk <z.querula@...> wrote:


Hi All,

Just to add a bit more of what I've noticed in Contra Costa County specifically the past few years, rather holistic and not scientific...

Allen's Hummingbirds generally are expected breeders in the coast range, but in most times of year become rare elsewhere in the county. In the areas where Allen's are expected (bay shore east to maybe West Briones or Lafayette?) they show up sometime in January and almost without exception are entirely absent from the county and the Bay Area by the start of August. The only two documented county records of Allen's Hummingbirds *in eBird* for Contra Costa from August or later are from my house, in Alamo, where I can easily take pictures of selasphorus tail feathers. Allen's, as far as I know, do not breed in the San Ramon Valley or Walnut Creek--Martinez lowland areas or anywhere East of there (except Bethel Island). In the San Ramon Valley, Allen's seem to come through as migrants in February/March and June/July. In the Diablo ranges, Allen's are uncommon during this period and are generally outnumbered by Rufous, at least for males, but female-types are often impossible to identify without feeder stations. At places that concentrate hummingbirds on Diablo, such as Mitchell Canyon, Allen's could/are be present in low numbers among Rufous, but I would caution most selasphorus are probably Rufous at this location, especially when most heavily birded April-May. The small Allen's breeding population at Bethel Island around Willowest Marina is present late January through maybe June?? I don't have much information on when they leave Bethel (and nearby Bradford, where they might breed as well.)

Rufous Hummingbirds are common migrants through much of the county and in central and east Contra Costa county should be expected over Allen's (although female types anywhere are best identified as Rufous/Allen's February-August, when both species can simultaneously occur in the county). At my house in Alamo, in the San Ramon Valley, Rufous Hummingbirds are common in Spring approx. February-May, and the Fall July-September, with two rather late October records.  This seems to be the general time frame for occurrence of Rufous county-wide. Rufous can be common to abundant in these times in the San Ramon Valley and on Diablo, and should be certainly expected in other parts of the county as an uncommon to common migrant. (If anyone cares,  this afternoon I had 5 males and 1 female Rufous at my house, and one Rufous/Allen's female, among 15 Anna's.)

Anyway, most of this is rather anecdotal and based on a narrower span of dates that I have been birding in Contra Costa, so could be flawed, but I think is fairly accurate. Additions/corrections welcome. Anyway, moral of the story, report Selasphorus as Allen's/Rufous if you don't have a diagnostic way to ID them.

Ethan


Joe Morlan
 

The map is online:

http://www.flyingemu.com/ccosta/alhu.html

On Tue, 31 Mar 2020 16:01:18 +0000 (UTC), "judisierra via Groups.Io"
<judisierra=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:

Comments on what the CCCO Breeding Bird Atlas says would be appreciated.
--
Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA


Martin Lycan
 

Unless I can positively identify as Rufus I've started counting as Allen's\Rufus. It is difficult at best to get a good look at the tail feathers in the field and from what I have recently read the relative amount of green on the back is not really indicative of one or the other, other than a total lack of green indicating Rufus. I've recently noted a few local photos of male Allens' in ebird but these for the most part appear to me to be an either\or proposition.


Fred Werner
 

Does anyone know of links to recordings that show a difference in the sounds of Allen's vs. Rufous Hummingbirds?
Sibley suggests there's a difference:

Allen's "Male dive display produces high, humming whistle, not stuttering like Rufous."

while Rufous "Male dive display produces stuttering, humming vi vi virrr."

On the few recordings I've found, I can't hear a difference.  For example, both of these displays sound stuttering to me:



fyi - Here's a good page on distinguishing the two by their tail feathers:


Like some (many?) of you, I've been struggling to distinguish these since I moved out here a dozen years ago.  I rarely see all-reddish male Rufous, and almost never get a good look at those tail feathers (even in my photos), so I STILL call almost everything "Allen's/Rufous".  But then just yesterday, I watched one do its U-shaped display dive here on the Berkeley/Oakland border on Panoramic Hill (Strawberry Canyon).  It didn't seem to stutter in its buzzy, trilly, dive, so I entered it on my eBird list as Allen's...

- Fred Werner
Berkeley, CA


On Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 1:47 PM Martin Lycan <mrlycan@...> wrote:
Unless I can positively identify as Rufus I've started counting as Allen's\Rufus. It is difficult at best to get a good look at the tail feathers in the field and from what I have recently read the relative amount of green on the back is not really indicative of one or the other, other than a total lack of green indicating Rufus.   I've recently noted a few local photos of male  Allens' in ebird but these for the most part appear to me to be an either\or proposition. 


Teale Fristoe
 

Of interest to everyone: Sibley says the "general shape and pattern of dives is distinctive", then shows Rufous performing repeated steep dives while Allen's "often" begins with back and forth shuttle display before doing a single steep dive. I've taken this to mean that the display is a reliable field mark to tell males apart.

Of interest to Fred: I go to the garden at Panoramic Hill frequently (using the Claremont Canyon ebird hotspot). The two male Selasphorus hummingbirds you saw up there are Allen's. I've seen them many times in the same general locations for several weeks (first saw one Feb 4, the other Feb 14), have watched them display, and have pictures of the tail feathers of one.

If you're interested in seeing completely orange backed Rufous Hummingbirds in that area, I found a couple two days ago and refound them both yesterday lower in Claremont Canyon. I didn't look for them today so they may have moved on. Both required some patience to get good looks. Coordinates and a photo are in this ebird checklist: https://ebird.org/checklist/S66415159

Happy and safe spring,
Teale Fristoe
Berkeley


On Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 5:55 PM Fred Werner <sustainablefred@...> wrote:
Does anyone know of links to recordings that show a difference in the sounds of Allen's vs. Rufous Hummingbirds?
Sibley suggests there's a difference:

Allen's "Male dive display produces high, humming whistle, not stuttering like Rufous."

while Rufous "Male dive display produces stuttering, humming vi vi virrr."

On the few recordings I've found, I can't hear a difference.  For example, both of these displays sound stuttering to me:



fyi - Here's a good page on distinguishing the two by their tail feathers:


Like some (many?) of you, I've been struggling to distinguish these since I moved out here a dozen years ago.  I rarely see all-reddish male Rufous, and almost never get a good look at those tail feathers (even in my photos), so I STILL call almost everything "Allen's/Rufous".  But then just yesterday, I watched one do its U-shaped display dive here on the Berkeley/Oakland border on Panoramic Hill (Strawberry Canyon).  It didn't seem to stutter in its buzzy, trilly, dive, so I entered it on my eBird list as Allen's...

- Fred Werner
Berkeley, CA

On Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 1:47 PM Martin Lycan <mrlycan@...> wrote:
Unless I can positively identify as Rufus I've started counting as Allen's\Rufus. It is difficult at best to get a good look at the tail feathers in the field and from what I have recently read the relative amount of green on the back is not really indicative of one or the other, other than a total lack of green indicating Rufus.   I've recently noted a few local photos of male  Allens' in ebird but these for the most part appear to me to be an either\or proposition.