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Posts Tagged ‘Lucifer hummingbird’

             “At one time in my life, I sought logic in everything – now I know better.” – Pat Bean

A section of a page from the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, whichI used to identify the Lucifer hummingbird. My bird looked exactly like the lower right photo, including the purple specks on the neck. Since I'm a writer and not a photographer, I didn't get a good photo.

A section of a page from the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, which I used to identify the Lucifer hummingbird. My bird looked exactly like the lower right photo, including the purple specks on the neck. Since I’m a writer and not a photographer, I didn’t get a good photo.

A Lucifer Hummingbird

I’ve birded all over North America and a few other places as well. I’m not quick on identifying species, like many of my birding mentors, mostly I think because I didn’t become passionate about the addictive activity until I was 60. As birding goes, I’m a late bloomer.

I did get a fairly decent photo of a house finch that was on the bird feeder hung on my balcony. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I did get a fairly decent photo of a house finch that was on the bird feeder hung on my balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

Before 1999, I could identify cardinals and mockingbirds, the first because it was so red and distinctive, and the latter because it was the State Bird of Texas, and I saw it everywhere as a child. I also thought I could identify house sparrows because they are so common. But once I began studying bird field guides, I realized there were over 35 different sparrows in North America alone – and only some of the ones I had been seeing were house sparrows.

One of the reasons I enjoy birding is because I enjoy reading mysteries, and identifying the murderer before the last page. Identifying a bird by its field marks is pretty similar. Another reason I enjoy birding is because I’m an avid list keeper – and listing the birds I’ve seen is fun for me.

This morning I identified my 709th bird,

It was a Lucifer hummingbird, flitting about in a tree near my living room balcony. It was hard at first for me to believe it, but the curved-down bill couldn’t be mistaken. It would have been a cinch to identify if it had been an adult male, which has a brilliant purple throat, but this one was a young juvenile – but with all the right field marks, including cinnamon-colored sides and a few purple flecks on its throat.

As far as hummingbirds go, Tucson has six common species: Anna’s, broad-billed, broad-tailed, Costa, black-shinned and rufous. I’ve seen all six at my hummingbird feeder just within the past two weeks.

A Lucifer hummingbird in Tucson, however, is rare – but possible. It’s a Mexican species that occasionally flies across the border into Southeastern Arizona and Texas’ Big Bend Region. While it never came to my nectar feeder, I watched it off and on for over half an hour as it flitted about the tree next to my apartment. Each sighting more definitely confirmed my good luck.

I’m a happy birder. The Lucifer was a lifer for me.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: More about birds http://tinyurl.com/hgb22z9 The butcher bird, also known as the loggerhead strike. Great photos.

 

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