Birding in British Columbia

A starting place for birding information for British Columbia, Canada. This web site features a birders discussion forum, links to birding newsgroups, articles and book reviews, checklists, regional hotspots, photo gallery, weather reports, and visiting birder information.
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 Post subject: Costa's Addenda
PostPosted: Mar 08 3:51 pm 
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Location: Vancouver
After reading Paul's account of taking some nice photos of the Costa's Hummingbird, I decided to take a look for it - and I've never even been to Arizona (other than Bullhead City).

Of course at 33rd and Camosun there are two alleys. Upon arriving I just walked around a little not carrying a camera. I did notice a conspicuous feeder in one backyard and guessed that this was the location to catch a "fleeting glimpse" of this bird. However, I didn't see any Hummingbirds in the area and walked around a little more. Finally upon returning to my car, I caught sight of a Hummer sitting atop of a fir tree at about 20 meters elevation. I couldn't ID it.

So I got my camera gear and headed back. I watched for a few minutes and saw a juvenile Anna's come by for a sip. Then the Costa's. It seemed civilized. The Costa's came from the left and the Anna's from the right.

Then I encountered a local resident who was just walking home and he asked me if I had seen "the Hummingbird". I told him that I had and showed him a couple of images on the LCD. He then added that it had also come to his feeder (in the other alley adjoining 33rd Avenue. That is, it has been seen in both alleys.) Moreover, it also visited a woman's feeder down a couple of blocks - 34th or 35th. He said that it had been chased from this latter woman's feeder by a male Anna's.

That made some sense to me as when I had watched the Costa's fly off, on one occasion it had gone south heading to greater numbered avenues and on another occasion, it had flown north. I didn't try to find a resting place for it as I had seen it fly high, low, north and south.

As it was a cloudy day I decided to try again today (8th), hoping for some sun to highlight the bird. Again, it was easy to find, but distant. Moreover, it was now being assailed by Anna's at this other feeder.

I then checked the feeder in the other alley and spotted two Anna's using it, one juvenile and one an adult male. So if the Costa's comes to this one, he may be attacked again. In other words, like the Anna's that disappear from Richmond Nature Gardens upon the arrival of the aggressive Rufous Hummers, the Costa's may be pushed out of this area and be very difficult to find in the near future.

Photo showing the Costa's in a defensive posture being forced from feeding by an approaching Anna's. i don't know if the open bill is for uttering threats, but the Costa's flew off, leaving the Anna's.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Costa's Addenda
PostPosted: Mar 08 4:26 pm 
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Neat observations Mike,

I too thought this little guy wouldn't last long amongst the larger, more aggressive Anna's, but considering he's been there since June 2010, I'm guessing he's got a routine down.

The question is whether or not he's getting lucky with any females?

Russ Cannings
Burnaby, BC


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 Post subject: Re: Costa's Addenda
PostPosted: Mar 08 6:45 pm 
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Location: Vancouver
I think I'll go look for the Costa's during spring break next week.
It would be interesting to see if he hybridizes with an Anna's. The two species are pretty closely related, and hummingbirds are one of the most common groups to hybridize. With no female Costa's anywhere near, I wouldn't be surprised if hybrids are found next year.

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 Post subject: Re: Costa's Addenda
PostPosted: Mar 08 9:20 pm 
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RC's post suggests the Costa's has been present for some time. The resident I spoke with said it was absent last year, but present the year before.

What would a hybrid look like? I did notice two Hummers that looked a little different to me. One I categorized as an Anna's juvenile, but it looked like it had purple stripes on its wings when folded. Another seemed to be very light coloured. Almost yellow on the sides.

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 Post subject: Re: Costa's Addenda
PostPosted: Mar 08 10:40 pm 
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A hybrid apparently looks more like a Costa with the flared throat patch (gorget), but the throat is a puplish magenta somewhere between Anna and Costa colours. Females would definitely be harder to ID.
There are some photos and ID points here:
http://www.azfo.org/gallery/hybridhummer.html

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 Post subject: Re: Costa's Addenda
PostPosted: Mar 13 10:00 am 
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I had never contemplated the idea of hybrid Hummingbirds before. Here we normally have two species, but upon Googling, I see that they have hybridized too.

That made me wonder about past sightings. A couple of years ago while walking on a path/road in Richmond which had water-filled ditches on both sides of it, I noticed some motion and saw a large Hummingbird sipping from a flower in the ditch. It seemed like the largest Hummingbird I have ever seen and was mostly green (I only saw its back as it was hovering at an elevation lower than the path) with a long straight bill. It also hovered in a noticeably straight-backed posture. I could never determine what it was.

Recently I came across what I assumed was an Anna's but the top of its head glowed a yellow colour in the sun (while its neck glowed the normal colour (mauve?)).

Then I came across this bird at Richmond Nature Garden in January. I just assumed that it was a young Anna's. But maybe those globular clusters on its gorget imply something else...

Image

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