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Yard list — FOS Black-chinned hummingbird!

Today I saw the First-of-Season Black-chinned hummingbird for our yard at the back door feeder.  It was a male, as the first birds always are.  He whirred in and made his characteristic little “chup-chup” feeding noise, pumping his longish tail and being generally tidy and well-defined in his gorget feathers, without moustaches.  Black-chinneds typically have longish, slightly-down-curved bills, a fairly flat crown, a sharp color difference between their breast and their chin (the lower edge of which flashes purple in the right light, but looks black otherwise), a graceful silhouette including a narrowish neck (compared to the no-necked Costa’s) and a distinctive s-shaped posture while drinking nectar.

“Black-chins” are breeding hummers here in the Phoenix area, but don’t stay year-round.  They’re with us from about now until late September or the beginning of October, when they return to their wintering grounds along the western coast of Mexico, north-central Mexican highlands or the Gulf Coast of the US.

In other yard hummer news, yesterday E found a female Anna’s building a nest on top of a pinecone cluster in the big Aleppo pine in the backyard.  It’s in the same general area we’ve seen Anna’s nest before in previous years, so it’s either the same bird re-nesting in a favorite area, or just a good place in the tree for Anna’s to build.   This branch has a mixed record of nesting success in the past: one Anna’s nest successfully hatched two fledgelings, but the most recent attempt was destroyed by a predator, perhaps a rat. We’ll try to get pictures and post progress.

The photo above is a male Black-chinned hummer from Wikimedia Commons.  The detail on this photo is excellent; be sure to click on it to enlarge!

Posted by Allison on Mar 12th 2009 03:06 pm | No Comments yet
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