More Hummingbirds of Winter, Mom Edition

So a hummingbird showed up right on schedule, day after Christmas. I stepped out on a cold morning to find it at the feeders I’d thoughtfully hung around the parking lot at my unit. Obviously an immature Selasphorus, a western hummingbird, but I couldn’t figure out which species I was dealing with (Rufous? Allen’s? Broad-tailed? um, Calliope?) until this shot:


For a juvenile western hummingbird this is pretty much the best view you can hope for: a clear shot of the spread tail feathers. In this case, it’s obvious that the three central vanes are green, and the longest vane is R1, the middle rectrice, which is a characteristic of a rufous/Allen’s hummingbird. (If it was a broad-tailed, the central rectrice would be shorter.)

Rufous and Allen’s are closely related, and in general it’s the Allen’s that are green-backed, but I’m content to wait and see what happens as this guy evolves.

So I was pretty pleased with myself till Mom called with a report of hummingbirds at the feeder. I headed over, expecting another rufous, and found this instead:


A glittering emerald hummingbird, a female or juvenile, with a straight bill. The P10 primary is more pointed and narrower than the P9, suggestive of a ruby-throated hummingbird…

Until I saw this:





At first I assumed they were the same bird, but upon reflection they really do look like different birds. Note the curved bill in the second bird (with the tongue sticking out!) and the width of the P10 primary.