I know I sound like a broken record playing on an annual cycle, but…. There have been several reports of Rufous Hummingbirds in L. A. County in the last week or so, at least three weeks before the very earliest spring migrants can be expected
to arrive. Given that Rufous Hummingbirds are casual in winter in our area (and the closely similar Allen’s Hummingbird is abundant all year), we require convincing documentation for “winter” (roughly, October through January) reports of Rufous. Once again, I challenge observers to obtain good DORSAL photos of any suspected Rufous Hummingbird during the winter period. Ideally the photos will also show details of the shapes of the tail feathers, but that’s obviously more difficult.
We are not validating eBird reports that briefly emphasize “extensive rufous color” or “all rufous back” because this can only be determined for certain with full views of the dorsal surface of the bird. In profile view, a male Allen’s Hummingbird can appear
to have entirely rufous upperparts. So if you’re lucky enough to run into a candidate Rufous in the next couple of weeks (or in subsequent winters), please make an effort to get useful photos. Thanks. Kimball L. Garrett Ornithology Collections Manager Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 900 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA (213) 763-3368 kgarrett@... http://www.nhm.org/site/research-collections/ornithology