Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Chuparosa Challenge-Stat!

No new pics today, but an overall collection of photos from the hummingbirds I have discovered since I began the Chuparosa Challenge.  And where I've found these birds. In fact, this write is really about how different each canyon and mountain top is from one another and how they'll attract certain kinds of hummers. 
Broad Tailed Hummingbird
While this Broad-Tailed Hummingbird is commonly seen around canyon areas, I had a difficult time finding them at all anywhere.  A lot of observation was done throughout this past summer.  Where did I find this little guy?  On Mt. Lemmon near the Ski Lodge.  And yet, one was reported at El Presidio by a resident.  We have 3 feeders on the grounds and once again, it just shows how diverse a population can be around one property!  This guy was reported in the fruit garden that has 3 feeders under the heavy shade of Privet trees in midtown Tucson.
Magnificent Hummingbird
By early summer, the Magnificent Hummers made their presence known around all the feeders in Carr, Madera, Ramsey and Miller canyons, and of course Mt. Lemmon. They went from a rare spotting in April to regularly seen as of this write.
Ruby Throated Hummingbird
This Ruby Throat is an extremely rare find in Arizona.  This picture was taken in Wisconsin during my visit with Grandma.   From New Mexico to the Eastern half of the US, you'll find this hummer rather common.  But here in Tucson.....not so much:)
Violet Crowned Hummingbird
Then the Violet Crowned Hummer.  I'd like to note that I've spotted this hummer in Midtown Tucson several summers back.  I hadn't known how rare this hummer was for our desert floor until this past year.  Not commonly seen around the area but not as difficult to spot as the Blue Throated Hummer.   I had one sighting of the VC in Madera canyon.  All of my sightings for this particular hummer were in the Huachuca Mountains.  I observed them mostly at Ramsey Canyon.
Costa's Hummingbird
The Costa's Hummer is a beauty and can be found in our desert.  It's not so fond of the feeders and are better seen in our wildlife settings.  I found this guy at Agua Caliente Park.  He was again spotted at Saguaro East National Park and then once again around our northern feeders during the winter months at El Presidio.  He would perch in the Palo Verde tree across the road.  They do feed at the hummingbird stations but it's not a common sight.  The Plain Capped Starthroat has been difficult for me as this hummer behaves similiarly to the Costa's.  I've heard this hummer in an isolated canyon while searching for him, but I still have no photo of this elusive bird.
Broad Bill Hummingbird
While the Costa's and Starthroat are more secretive, the Broad Bill hummingbird is quite the opposite.  He doesn't care where he's seen.  In fact, you'll find this common hummer everywhere which include all of the canyons mentioned above.  The striking blue hues of the male and wonderful orange bill make this another favorite hummer for birders around the world.  The reactions are always the same...."Ooooo....look at that one!"  Both Magnificent and Broad Bills are movie stars in the eyes of the human public.
Another and extremely common hummer is the Black Chinned.  It's one of my favorites but unfortuneatly it's overlooked by many people.  It's common and rather colorless.  Even the female hummers get more attention than this guy.  I disagree with the birding crowd.  If I had to pick a hummer that is rather dull, it's the Starthroat.  At least this hummer has a purple band around the gorget.  The other day I heard an out-of-towner from CA say, "Look past the boring black one.  It's over there!"  He was referring to what he thought was a Blue Throated Hummer.  Indeed the hummingbird had a blue throat but it was a juvenile Broad Bill.
Black Chinned Hummingbird
The feeders are focal points and it's important to keep your eyes and camera fixed on them.  There is a heirarchy among the populations.  Some of the hummingbird males make sure their female counterparts feed first.  The largest of the hummers in today's post, the Magnificent, is fast and usually was chased off by Broad Tails.  It's not uncommon to see a war break out between these fast birds.  At times, it looks like they'll fly right into your face, but thankfully that never has happened:)
Magnificent and Blue Throated Hummers are two of the largest hummingbirds of North America
And finally, here is Tucson's little gem.  The Costa's and Anna's hummingbirds live here all year round.  I have a family of Anna's hummingbirds that live around the fern garden here at El Presidio.  These guys are beautiful as their heads are a nice pink color.  I would mix the Costa's and Anna's at times.  But the key between distinguishing the two apart?  Costa's is purple and Anna's is pink.  And there are some minor differents in the faces:)
Anna's Hummingbird
Of course, I've only shown you the males here as they are the ones with the distinguishing marks, but don't forget the females.  It's easy to throw them all into the same category but it has been a lot of fun for me to distinguish the various and minor differences between this interesting group.
Female Broad-billed Hummingbird
So the stats. I've found 8 of the 17 so far.  Who's left?  Plain Capped Starthroat, Rufous, Lucifer, Berylline, Blue Throated, Allen's,  White Earred, Calliope, and Buff Bellied.  Rare but possible are the Green Violet-ear hummers. Thanks Warren for keeping me on track with my studies:) Stay tuned for more....and there is more:) Hybrids, Juvies, the Devil, oh my! Rufee-oh!!!!  Just some hints;)


  1. Beautiful Hummingbirds, it must be like heaven on earth. Great photos.

  2. Nearly half the possible species of Hummer sighted then Chris. Are the hummers all summer migrants? If so they will be leaving soon ? So your challenge will roll over into next year.

    Good luck with your quest :-)

  3. Debe ser un gusto poder disfrutar de estas aves tan bellas.. Enhorabuena por las imágenes.. Un saludilo..

  4. I just love all the hummers. For me they are just amazing birds. I did get to see a few of these in Panama. But, it would be so nice to see them on your on property. Great post and photos.

  5. Some amazing photos there Chris - the last one is stunning. The diversity of the hummers is wonderful to see. Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

    Thanks by the way for reminding me of the bug/insect/moth lady's blog - I have revisited the blog and moth you mentioned in your comment is Superb :)

  6. Good Morning!!!! First off, I would like to thank you for stopping by for a visit, and leaving a comment at my Bird Photography blog, I'd Rather B Birdin. I really think you should put your link in the Bird D'Pot's meme list this week....these are fabulous images [one of my favorite birds]. The meme, The Bird D'Pot, is open for bird photo linking all week long, and has a new set up each Saturday afternoon for another week's photos.

    Then, I wanted to tell you, when I read about you being in Tucson, I was thrilled to meet you....I lived in Tucson [in the North, up near Marana and Thornydale Road and Cotaro Farms Road] for over a decade. It's great to know of another 'zonie'!!!!

  7. I never realized so many hummer species lived in AZ. Your captures are excellent. Good luck with the rest. And thanks for remembering the females.

  8. Hey all, some fun comments this morning so far. I've got to get ready for work and have a meeting tonight at the University but I'll respond to these pronto:) Chris:)

  9. I love hummingbirds. We don't have nearly as many species here in central Illinois. The shots are beautiful!

  10. you've got such a great variety! love them all.

  11. The Hummingbirds are so beautiful Chris. I know I keep saying it but I do wish we had them here. I love both birds and butterflies equally and I know it's silly but somehow Hummingbirds almost seem like a mixture of both of them, they are just exquisite! I had never realised there were so many different ones.

    I also enjoyed your three part 'Winning Combinations' posts. Lovely photos as always Chris.

  12. New or not...these shots are amazing!

  13. These are all so fascinating. You take wonderful shots. Do you use a tripod? I'm trying to absorb some of your knowledge, but I'm afraid I'll still not know one from the other. That won't stop me from enjoying them though!

  14. A great write up. I can't imagine, but obviously believe you, how hummers occur at the top of a ski lift, even in warm times. Amazing too that you see so many species of hummers in a relatively small area. We don't get hunners over here at all but I remember my time in Canada and seeing Ruby-throated in the cold springs of Ontario - amazingly adapted and specialised birds.

  15. Awesome post, Chris... That is so neat to learn about all of the different hummingbirds in your area. I first knew about you all having so many hummers when a blog friend moved to Arizona --and started posting pictures of all of the hummingbirds that would come to her feeders..... GORGEOUS...

  16. Amazing series! I have seen so many of these lovely creatures, especially in Costa Rica, and didn't manage to get a proper shot! :-) Great job.

  17. Beautiful birds and a very interesting post. ALL hummingbirds are fascinating when we don't have any at all in Australia!

  18. Fantastic!!! This is the first time I am seeing some of these. As always, thanks for your interesting post.

  19. Chris, you are lucky to have so many Hummers come to visit. I almost never see them in my yard like I use to.
    Beautiful shots.

  20. You are so lucky to have such beautiful birds... and to get pictures as well..... Great shots, Chris

  21. Incredible photos Chris!!!! I absolutely love Hummingbirds. I have a feeder outside and love to see them drinking out of the cactus and succulent blooms. I think their favorite flowers to sip from are the aloes! Their little beaks fit so nicely in the trumpet shaped flowers. Thanks for the beautiful photos and super information on your hummers!

  22. You're hummer photos are outstanding! I was going to tell you that the first picture was my favorite until I saw the Black Chinned at the feeder. When we first moved into this house about 3 years ago we had lots of hummers and I occasionally saw a Costa's. In fact, I think the only decent hummer picture I ever took was of a Costa's. I had alot of fun trying to "shoot" them, but I was never very good at it.

  23. Awesome photos and variety! I have a confirmed Costa's living here in Southern Oregon since June.He chases the Anna's and Rufous that are comonly found here.I saw him chase some Black Capped Chickadees too! It is now Sept. and I'm wondering if he will be leaving soon.I have noticed his song actually has changed lately...after the regular whistle he adds an Anna's type of sound.Have you ever heard this from a Costa's? The people at Cornel are the ones who confirmed his identity for me.They did not say he was a Costa's x Anna's, but I wonder...

    1. Hi Ronne! Thanks for stopping by. One of my investigations while doing the hummingbird investigations speaks about hybrids. That write will be coming up but it is HIGHLY likely that a Costas can mix with an Anna's, Lucifer etc. So it's very possible. How exciting for you....a Costa that far up north is a rare treat. These birds live year round here in Tucson and out in the desert areas more than around homes. The hybrids, between hummers were all mixed with Costas.....so it's very possible:)


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