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(9 January 2002)

Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus,adult female

All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center

For three years in a row, Nan Gaughf has had a cold-weather hummingbird coming to her window feeder. In December 2001 she learned from her mother--who read in a Columbia SC newspaper about our Buff-bellied Hummingbird banding--that staff at Hilton Pond Center are studying such wayward winter hummers. An e-mail from Nan to the Center easily convinced us it was worth the 300-mile round trip to Pinnacle Mountain, South Carolina--in Pickens County just two miles from Table Rock State Park--to band yet another vagrant hummingbird.

Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus,adult femaleAfter arriving at Nan's at 9:15 a.m. on 9 January 2002, we erected our pull-string trap and sat back to wait. The bird first came into view about 15 minutes later but needed several visits before discovering how to get at the feeder that hung just inside the trap. Finally, at 9:40 a.m., the hummer entered and we had the bird where we wanted it. We hand-fed the hummer several times to make sure it got enough energy-rich sugar.

Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus,adult femaleLike most winter hummers we've trapped this year, this was a healthy female Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus. Since she was an adult bird, it's entirely possible she was the same individual that had visited the Gaughfs during two preceding winters. We measured, banded, and photographed the hummer, after which Nan hand-fed her one more time and released her. For at least two days following the banding, the bird was still visiting Nan's feeder, apparently unaffected by the whole experience.

Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus,adult female

Thanks to Nan (and her mom!) for the opportunity to band this winter hummingbird. The bird's measurements included: weight 3.6g; wing chord 43.5mm; tail length 26mm; tail notch 6mm; culmen (bill) length 17.5mm. Band number: Y14783.

Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus,adult female

Rufous Hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus,adult female

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.