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Rufous Hummingbird in Seneca, NY

Published October 26, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, Rufous Hummingbird, Glossy Ibis, Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, Pectoral Sandpiper, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Northern Harrier

A rare appearance of a Rufous Hummingbird in Seneca, New York, prompted another visit out to that region this past week. The hummingbird was visiting the feeders at a private residence and Dave, the homeowner, was very kind to let us stop by to get a look.  Celeste and I got some wonderful views - and even some photos - of this gorgeous bird.

The Rufous Hummingbird is a western bird, breeding from south east Alaska, British Columbia, south west Alberta, and western Montana south to Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and northern California.  It winters mostly in Mexico and during migration and winter, a few can be found along the gulf Coast.

So what was this bird doing at the north end of Cayuga Lake in Seneca, New York?  No one knows how she got so far off course.  Normally, we only see the Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Western New York. If it should linger, will it survive our coming cold weather?  It turns out, the rufous is a very hardy bird, capable of surviving temperatures well below freezing as long as they have enough food and shelter. Dave's backyard and ample food supply is well suited for its survival!

This species is quite pugnacious as well. Out west, Celeste saw them chasing off the larger Magnificents, Blue-throated, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed, Black-chinned, Anna's, and Violet-crowned Hummingbirds. They appeared to be quite fearless!

This bird has gained a little notoriety over the past weeks and was recently visited by Jay McGowan, of Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. Jay photographed the hummer and is planning to band it if it should stick around.

After the thrill of seeing the Rufous, Celeste and I drove through Montezuma again, visiting several marshes along the way.  In amongst several Lesser Yellowlegs, we found 7 Long-billed Dowitchers (a very recent life bird for me) at Colvin Marsh.



We also found 8 Dunlin, 12 Pectoral Sandpipers, 29 Northern Shovelers, 10 Northern Pintails, 11 Green-winged Teal, and 35 American Goldfinches were at the visitor's center - and either 1 Glossy Ibis who flew over to a second spot or TWO Glossies and no White-faced at Benning Marsh. Northern Harriers were seen at nearly every spot again too.

Last time I mentioned I'd like to get out here soon and spend more time - well, that happened!
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Rufous Hummingbird (female)
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Rufous Hummingbird
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Rufous Hummingbird
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Rufous Hummingbird
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Rufous Hummingbird
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Rufous Hummingbird
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Glossy Ibis
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Glossy Ibis
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Glossy Ibis resting - he did a lot of that
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Long-billed Dowitcher