Friday, December 31, 2010

Rufous Hummingbird --Winter Arrival

Denny and I have a library of bird books--with over 800 species of birds known to wander North America, we need all the help we can get.  

And the library says our Texas Hill Country house is at the far eastern edge of this little guy's migratory path. 

But he took possession of our feeder one cool damp morning this week (12/29/10), driving away the juvenile Ruby-Throated Hummingbird who'd stopped here to top off his tank the last day or so

Our new customer is a Rufous Hummingbird, a species whose territory ranges from southern Alaska in summer to southern Mexico in winter, and is known as the feistiest hummingbird species in North America.  His coloration says he's male, the mottled plumage that he's young. A teen-aged traveler finding his way across thousands of miles

How does a tiny young bird completely alone know where and how to go?  And when and where and how to return? 

I've heard rumors of rufous hummingbirds staying 'til spring.  But I hope he moves on to tropical south Texas where it's warm and bugs fly all winter.  He'll need all the bulk he can build to make it back to the northern breeding grounds. Then maybe we'll see him again next December.  I'll have a feeder out just in case.

A flying rust-colored mystery.  Stranger things have happened here in the Texas Hill Country.

P.S.  A day later, another rufous showed up.

2011 omen?

Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Nice - only in warmer winters do hummers overwinter here, not sure if Anna's or some other. Def not this year, at least up here!

  2. Rufous Hummingbirds are becoming more common in winter here near the Gulf Coast, although I have not yet been fortunate enough to have one in my yard. Enjoy your visitors.

  3. How cool. We haven't seen any hummers in a while. I did get a beautiful new feeder for Christmas, though. Maybe someone...besides the woodpeckers...will like it.

    Have a Happy New Year.

  4. Maybe an omen. Maybe global weather-patterns changing. Whatever. A small, beautiful glory.

  5. A good omen - a year filled with unexpected visitors bringing you delight and new wisdom.

  6. I'm certain the weather is a factor, but it's fascinating and fun just the same.

    It's incredibly unseasonably warm and raining here on this New Year Jan 1. Never ever that I recall.

    It's a great way to begin the day with a reminder of all things possible.


  7. You said it yourself. They're teenagers. Teenagers always rebel by finding their own route in life. They'll be ok Texas Mama. Especially since they've found you're bed n' breakfast.

  8. Hummingbirds are just SO cool - and so is your backyard! I'm happy these little guys have a safe place to stop along the way. . .

  9. I love his mottled, rust-colored feathers.
    Great pictures as usual, Kathleen. x0 N2


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