Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Buddy, the Violet-crowned Hummingbird

My friend since February 2008 has returned for what will be his fifth winter here in my north-central Tucson backyard.

He seems to show up about 5-6 weeks earlier every year, and stay longer and longer as well. Last year the date was October 16, so this year I though he might show up in September. But I was gone in Brazil until October 15, and I took down all 14 of my feeders (including his favorite against the west fence just south of the big wolfberry bush) last May just before I embarked on a long series of tours, scouting trips, and personal trips that took me to SE Arizona, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, British Columbia, Peru, Costa Rica, then Brazil.

I got home last Sunday, October 16. It took me until mid-day Monday to put up a few feeders – using the last bit of sugar water I had left in the fridge, and hadn't yet gone to the store for more sugar. Then Tuesday morning, there are hummingbirds all over in the yard, including Mr. Handsome. His crown really shows up well in the morning sun.

Also in the yard are several male Broad-billed Hummingbirds, lots of Anna's Hummingbirds, and the presumed female Black-chinned x Costa's Hummingbird hybrid which has returned also for her third winter.

This young male Anna's Hummingbird is molting in his gorget in an interesting way. I assume those grayish feathers below the bill on either side of the throat will be replaced with iridescent red ones soon. What's interesting is that this bird has a band – Larry Norris has come here twice to band hummingbirds, but I don't know is this is one of the birds we banded. The numbers I could see in a couple photos indicate that it might actually be a bird from somewhere else.

I think these show the band number to be L500122. I'll post here when I know more.


  1. That's cool! I enjoyed seeing him last Jan. and all the other cool hummers you have. Great photos!

  2. What a handsome bird, and wonderful photos.