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(31 December 2001)

All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center

On the morning of New Year's Eve (31 December 2001) we traveled from Hilton Pond Center to nearby Gastonia, North Carolina, to investigate a vagrant hummingbird that had been hanging around a large Red Camellia at the home of Lillian and David Cheek. Lillian first discovered the hummer gleaning insects from the shrub in early December, after which she put out a feeder and was pleased to see the bird take to it immediately. A few weeks later she called to inquire about what this cold-weather hummingbird might be.

With David's assistance, we erected our trusty pull-string hummingbird trap at 7:30 a.m. and had the bird in hand within five minutes. It turned out to be an adult female Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus, in excellent condition. Thanks to Lillian for reporting her hummer and to Mike Bush, executive director of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, for referring Lillian to us.

Measurements for our last winter vagrant hummingbird of 2001 included: weight 3.6g; wing chord 43.7mm; tail length 26mm; tail notch 5mm; culmen (bill) length 18.5mm. Band number: Y14793. The bird was still visiting the feeder a week after banding, even when confronted by a Calliope Hummingbird that showed up a few days after the first bird was banded. (See Calliope Hummingbird Banded at Gastonia, North Carolina.)

All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.