Monday, September 24, 2012

The Chuparosa Challenge-Ru-Fee-OH-s!

Greetings all!  Here is another Chuparosa Challenge.  I'm far from done with this series. There's just a lot going on right now with nature and while I've been on the hunt for hummingbirds, other challenges come up as well as you will see.  It's all about the Rufous Hummingbird today.  All of the shots are female except for one.  These are a golden delight.  They also mark the beginning of migration and the end to our hummingbird season.  By mid October, most will be gone.
Male Rufous

The above pic is the male in all of his glory.  There were too many pics to choose from so I put all of them on for you to get a better look.  The hummingbird season was slow to start this year but picked up around the first week of September with the Rufous being the most numerous next to the Anna's, Broad Bill, and Magnificent.  The pics today were taken in Ash Canyon and Miller Canyon in the Huachuca mountains of Sierra Vista.

One of the questions I asked during this research was, "How do you know if the hummingbird  is Rufous or Allens?"  It's all in the tail feathers and sometimes it's extremely hard for the professionals to distinguish.  Mary Jo, of Ash Canyon B & B, was kind enough to take her time and show me pictures between the two species.   It also comes down to the green on the back. 
But for now let's look at the difference between the female and male Rufous.  The shot on the left is a clear view of the female.  Look at the gorget(throat area).  There is striping there.  The male has a full pink/orangish color along the gorget and if overall very golden. The male tail feathers are also more pointy. In a surprise post coming up, you'll have a two punch pic shot. But needless to say, the male Rufous made a strong appearance with another "Star".
They do make it into Tucson for brief appearances near the end of our summer.  I had one visit some flowers in our garden but most prefer the higher elevations.

Most winter in wooded areas in the Mexico state of Guerrero, traveling over 2,000 miles by an overland route from its nearest summer home.  This is of some concern to hummingbird specialists.  While hummingbirds are quite smart finding new areas to call home, it has been increasingly difficult to find areas where they can settle down.  With habitat loss in Mexico and our forest fires here, it's no surprise that hummingbirds have been challenged.
One of the things that keeps these birds alive and well is their ability to search out new places to nest and breed.  In their early years, juvenile hummers take a kind of "walkabout" and explore new places before returning to the group.  This has given them an edge in the bird world and in fact, some populations of the hummers have been growing!
Here's a new term for hummer lovers....or maybe not.  "Traplining"  Hummers feed by sight and will generally check out anything to see if it is a source of food. Many birds follow a regular route through their territory checking out the food sources several times daily. This behavior is called traplining.  So if you place hummingbird flowers in your garden, this will ensure they come to visit regularly:)

So there you have it.  More updates coming up on these amazing birds.  Below I have a pic demonstrating the differences between Allen's and Rufous hummingbirds courtesy of Sheri Williamson. 
Again, finding hummingbirds isn't difficult here as you just go to places with feeders.  What's difficult about this particular birding challenge is to keep your eye and lens on the target....especially when there are so many flying around.  But the conversations with people around the feeders has been truly a highlight as well.  There are older people who can't bird like they used to but still keep doing it from their chairs. These couples are in their 80's who take out their binoculars and share their experiences with us.  And for that I am grateful.

Female Rufous

Fall has officially begun after this weekends Greek Festival.  Bring on the cooler temps!


  1. Marvelous! I'm hoping to catch one of these guys passing through Phoenix. They embody all the quintessential colors of Fall!

  2. Great shots, I'll miss these when they migrate.

  3. You gave us a very comprehensive write up their Chris together with a briliant set of images. Now I know a lot more about hummers in your part of the world - pity we don't have any over here they would make a great addition to my garden list.

  4. Your pictures have great clarity. I wonder what shutter speed was used. We don't have hummingbirds here or any that I'm aware of.

  5. Thanks for all these lovely pictures....nice work Chris.

    Greetings, Joop

  6. I love this series of posts. Great photos and a fascinating read :) Looking at the penultimate shot its easy to see why 2 species are so hard to tell apart especially with the speed of the birds!

  7. Gorgeous shots of the hummers. The Rufous is beautiful. Love the colors on this hummer. I was able to see the Rufous in Oregon during my vacation this year.

  8. Very nice shots! Great to see them flying and standing still in the air!
    Have a nice week
    Yvonne & Raphael

  9. These are stunning shots!

    I bet that Greek Festival is lots of fun.

  10. oh my! those are fabulous photos of the hummingbird.....You are getting professional and all.......wowie wow wow
    He looks like air force 1 coming in for a his banking....sp?
    sorry to hear about the chiggers
    Im heading up to Ellison Bay this Sunday...I'll lift a glass of hearty brew for you

  11. gorgeous, gorgeous little things. love that beautiful tail. and cool that the female gets a gorget, too!

  12. Saw a lot of Rufous up here this summer.

  13. Fabulous captures,the images have such clarity,.They really are
    beautiful little Hummingbirds.We don't get them here, your sooo very lucky.

  14. They are so beautiful. I saw my first one while on a visit in Flagstaff several years ago. That is a fine line between the Allen's and Rufous. I don't know that I'll ever be able to tell the difference.

  15. Such beautiful little guys!
    This male Rufous makes me think of a peacock.
    You are an expert now.

  16. What an awesome tail! You have so many fantastic photos, I love seeing all the different captures of angles and movements. I never realized bird watching was such a social event!

  17. Opisujesz i pokazujesz ptaszki które uwielbiam, a których u nas nie fruwają:(
    Describe and show the birds that I love, and which we do not fly

  18. cute hummingbirds!... I'm always enjoying the beautiful photographs of exotical birds...

    xoxo, Juliana

  19. These are really nice. I can see why you spend so much time finding these little guys.
    I commented on yesterdays wonderful pics and I don't see it there. I hope my blogger isn't hoplessly broken. I have to go to Google Chrome to post, I wonder if the comments are broken too? Anyway, I love these hummers! I don't recall ever seeing one with the tail all spread out. That's pretty cool.

    1. Yeah, my blogger hasn't been the same since the forced new interface. I'm not sure how I'm going to do this. I don't think I had a comment from you yesterday but I'm going to try the Google Chrome...maybe it will be better. My posts freeze up now and everything is difficult to do. But I got this one. They are really cool to capture on film. When I'm done with the series, you'll be able to see all the different ones's pretty awesome. I wish I could do this everyday 24/7 but there's this called a job:)

  20. You capture the most amazing shot of those hummers. It's easy to see the differences in your photos.

  21. I envy your variety of hummingbirds. Your photos are awesome!

  22. Well I have certainly learned something new on here. Traplining is interesting and new and both of these hummingbirds. We only have the ruby throated ones here. They look quite different from their western cousins. You caught some really amazing shots of them all in flight-good job!

  23. Great post! Such a beautiful hummer and you've captured them so well!

  24. Amazing shots, you have such patience to get the shot.

    We had a few here this year, but missed out because we didn't put the feeders out soon enough. Next year, sooner.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  25. thanks for the pics, and info. I've loved the series.

  26. You make it look so easy Chris and I know for a fact that it's not.. the smaller birds dart around so quickly, these excellent images show your skill and patience, brilliant work.

  27. I LOVE the tails! What a neat post.


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