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