The main objective for the morning was to explore a little further into how much turnover of Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) (ANHU) there is in south Brewster County. Kelly has banded, captured, and re-captured an astonishing number of this species this winter and particularly into the new year.
The element far more intriguing is courtship displays of ANHU. That is courtship displays of ANHU in the state of Texas. An irregular wintering species in the trans-Pecos, this species is a year-round resident of California up the west coastal edge of the US, and also southern Arizona. In California, as an example, they are already nesting.
In Texas, there are only three nesting records of ANHU; two in El Paso County and one in Jeff Davis County.
The highlight of the morning at this location was this guy. A new male on the scene:
|Anna's Hummingbird, male, Second Year. |
not banded, so a new bird on the scene.
Second Year (SY) refers to the bird is now in its 2nd Calender Year of existence.
|the crown simply means the top of the head. |
Those adult crown feathers will be connected to the gorget by the same color pink-red feathers at the nape, "ears", and cheeks.
|When he molts into his full adult-male plumage (at least regarding the feathers around the head), his entire head will be an iridescent pink-red. |
The following two pics are of female ANHU:
|Female Anna's Hummingbirds do attain iridescent pink-red gorget feathers. However, they are restricted to a centralized spot at the center of the throat.|
|This is a picture of another female. Her central gorget spot still has a ways to go.|
In fact, this individual is a SY female bird.
Feathers are scales. They are just modified scales. Birds shed/drop old feather and those are replaced by new feathers. That is a feather molt.
Primary or "flight" feathers are the outer feathers of the wing. Though sometimes called "flight" feathers, they certainly are not the only ones responsible for the creation of lift.
Hummingbirds have 10 primaries.
Second Year ANHU molt all their primaries except for P9 and P10, the outer two.
Anyways, the females at this particular site were recaptures. The SY male was new and unbanded.
In fact, he chased a female off a feeder while at the same time we were urging him to work on his courtship display flight. He did not.
He just returned to the feeder he won. It happened to have a trap around it.
So, will there actually be another nesting record for Anna's Hummingbird in Texas? Even an attempt?
I don't know.
But if you are down along the Rio Grande, it might be worth it to look up. (And brush up on any hummingbird identification first..)