On November 19th, Randy Schmidt of The Vermont Bird Place in Manchester Center, VT, reported a phone call from a customer who was worrying about a hummingbird who was still hanging around her feeder (in East Arlington.) Randy posted the information on VTBird and reported that he thought it was a Rufous Hummingbird. This elicited a number of posts about identification and the hopes that a bander could visit and identify the bird. It created a lot of buzz among Vermont birders.
Well, yesterday a certified bander from Connecticut did in fact visit the site and capture the bird. Here’s what Randy posted afterwards:
We did indeed band and positively ID the East Arlington hummer this morning. The bird is a hatch year female Rufous Hummingbird who weighed 3.9 grams. Band number L66890. (the L will be translated to a numerical number later – the L fits easily on the band!)
Bander Bob Yunick captured the bird at the first feeder visit after the trap was set. VERY interesting process. The tail feathers made the ID (along with other details) and it was amazing to see the amount of rufus in the bird that you don’t see when the bird is just perching. He will be producing a complete report….
It was very neat to see the bird return to the feeder just 7 1/2 minutes after release….
So as some have mentioned – the lesson is? next year, keep those hummer feeders going! In fact this morning, the bird visited the feeder even though a small bit of ice had formed after the homeowner put it back out this morning. Temp was around 26 degrees at the time of capture.
Great experience all around.
Of course, since then we have had a major snowstorm throughout the Northeast. The fate of this vagrant is unclear but I hope she got out of Dodge before the snow hit.
Photo is of a rufous in another state by David-O