Fall of 2012 has shown a huge invasion of Selasphorus hummingbirds into the northeastern United States. Writing this from Maine, we have had two but Pennsylvania is off the charts: 30+ reports and they keep coming.
|Confirmed Rufous Hummingbirds of Fall 2012 - from eBird|
It has been visiting a feeder in Biddeford, ME since October 16th. A larger selection of photos can be seen at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/vazhbn1wby3l078/kYvPqtMENy
The amount of rufous on the flanks and base of the tail feathers definitely indicates a Selaphorus hummingbird. BUT R1 looks all green, with just a slight black edging near the tip. R2 shows just a little rufous peaking out from under the upper tail coverts but there does appear to be a minor notch. R3-5 have plenty of rufous at the base but at least we can see the width of R5 rules out Allen's.
One very interesting note was that female hummers can show colored feathers on the gorget. (fun fact for this east coast birder) This bird does show two reddish-orange feathers off-center on the gorget but has been identified as a female. While there are good features here for Rufous Hummingbird, most are also in the realm of Broad-tailed Hummingbird, which has never occurred in Maine before.
How else can this bird be identified?
The easy answer would be to band the bird, except the nearest bander we can find with the proper permits lives about 3.5 hours away and is not immediately available.
Throughout my day watching this bird I was able to make several audio recordings on my phone by either holding it up to the perched bird (which was hard to approach) or once leaving my phone near the feeder for 40 minutes (it only came to feed once during that time). And here are the results:
From the yard (listen to it here):
Here is a (poor) recording of a known Rufous Hummingbird from xeno-canto:
known female Broad-tailed Hummingbird:
known male Broad-tailed Hummingbird:
But is this significant? I have two recordings of our bird and could only compare to what is available on xeno-canto; there are no female Rufous recordings there.
I have to say this bird is looking closer to a Rufous than Broad-tailed. Until I hear an expert opinion on audio or we get the bird in the hand, I think it can only be called a Selasphorus sp.