Sunday, July 29, 2012

Southwest Hummingbirds Part 3: Broad-tailed and Broad-billed


A female Broad-billed Hummingbird, Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservatory, Sierra Vista, AZ; 4/9/2012.
Broad-billed Hummingbird: During my Spring Break Southwestern birding trip, I was lucky enough to make my second visit to the Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservatory, which is considered to be one of the best places to find a wide variety of species of hummingbirds. After I completed a long hike into and out of the canyon, I still had an hour before the grounds closed for the day. So I camped myself on a bench facing one of their many hummingbird feeders. Within that hour I saw four (maybe five) different species visiting the one feeder: A Broad-billed (Above), a Magnificent and Rufous (tomorrow's post), many Black-chinneds, and an unconfirmed possible Blue-throated (my photo was inconclusive, but was probably a Black-chinned).
Val's photo of the beautiful male Broad-billed Humminbird, Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson; 12/27/2012.
While visiting the wonderful Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, AZ, Val visited the hummingbird house, in which resided hummingbird species that could be found in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. She was able to catch several excellent close-ups of many different types, including the Broad-billed (Above).  Males sport a dark green belly and dark blue throat and breast with black wings and dark green back, all off set with a brilliant red bill. Don't ask me why I didn't make it to the Hummingbird House. I was probably out chasing wild birds.
Broad-billed Hummingbirds are common in the southeast corner of the Arizona (i.e.Ramsey Canyon NC) during the summer. Rarely do they venture north, but there are few odd sightings of these guys in California.
Val's photo of a female Broad-billed Hummingbird, Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ; 12/27/2009.
Val photographed a female Broad-billed (Above) at the Hummingbird House as well.

Broad-tailed Hummingbird: The second of the "broad" hummingbirds is the Broad-tailed (Below).

A male Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Rocky Mt. Nat. Prk, CO; 7/8/2010. Photo taken when I still had my Canon RebelT1i with a Canon 55-250mm lens. I hadn't yet owned my current Sigma 150-500mm lens.
While camping in Rocky Mountain National Park two summers ago, I liked to get up early and before making breakfast, meander around the vast slope, meadow, and creek area to the south of our campground to look for wildlife. One morning, while I was stalking a Mountain Bluebird, I was able to catch a glimpse of a hummingbird that showed itself for only a moment before it buzzed in a high pitch out of sight. My first reaction was a Black-chinned, but upon viewing my photo (Above), the bill seemed too short, and the only other hummer that would be present this far north in Colorado in midsummer, would be the Broad-tailed, and indeed, unless I am mistaken, this what I ID'd it as. Broad-tailed Hummers can be found in dry arid places, especially in and around coniferous forests, which was where I was (check). The male has fairly dark green flanks with an orangish edging to the insides of its tail feathers (check).  In the right light its dark throat would turn a rosy red. The road-tailed range includes Idaho and Wyoming to the north spreading south through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and into Mexico. It likes higher altitudes, but will not go as far west to the Pacific Coast.
A female Broad-tailed Hummingbird (or a female Calliope?), Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ; 12/27/2009.
Val also caught a good picture of a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird (Above) at the Sonoran Desert Museum Hummingbird House.  Initially I ID'd this hummer as a Calliope, as the females of both the Calliope and Broad-tailed are very similar with a green head and back, grayish throat, dark wings and a buffy breast. I decided that it was a Broad-tailed because the wing tips of the hummer (Above) do not reach the tip of the tail, whereas on the Calliope, its wing tips are as long as the tip of the tail, and the Broad-tailed has more white on its breast. And finally, in the photos I've seen of the Calliope, it seems that its bill is thinner than the Broad-tailed, and this hummer looks to have a thicker bill.  However, the eye gave me some trouble with the ID. Calliopes have a white spot behind its eye as does the hummer (Above), while Broad-taileds have a complete white eye-ring.  The bird above doesn't appear to have a complete eye-ring, but shadow and feathers could obscure it. I am still leaning toward the Broad-billed because of the length of the wings.

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