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Ruthie, the F RUHU in Delmont PA during the winters of 97-98 and 98-99
'Ruthie'
the Delmont Rufous who started the big craze!
Seen above during her banding recap 12/23/98


There are not many things in life you can be sure of --
except rain comes from the clouds
sun lights up the sky
and HUMMINGBIRDS do fly!!!
(Lyrics from Everything Must Change by Bernard Ighner)


'Ruthie', a hatching-year female Rufous hummer, first arrived in Delmont, Westmoreland County, during October of 1997 and stayed in the same backyard until late March or early April 1998. She was banded by a Hummer/Bird Study Group crew in early December of 1997. She returned to the same backyard in October of 1998 (when I saw her myself on 10/15&16/98) and stayed until her death due to extreme cold weather in early January 1999. See the climate data for January 5&6, 1999 from Pittsburgh NWS. She was found and recovered by Powdermill Nature Reserve bander Bob Mulvihill, whose band she was wearing, and is now a specimen at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

Until November 2007, 'Ruthie' was the only documented RETURN "winter" hummer in PA. In November 2007, the female Rufous who became the first "foreign recaptured" Selasphorus in Pennsylvania also became the second documented RETURN Rufous! (see 2007-2008 page)

And until March 2011, 'Ruthie' was the only "winter" hummer in PA known to have stayed into March. In March 2011, PA's first Anna's hummer, a female who overwintered in Berks Co. stayed until about March 16th. (see 2010-2011 page)

On Monday November 14, 2011 Scott Weidensaul rushed to Jacobsburg State Park and captured an adult male Rufous hummer that was known to be already banded, based on observations by Rick Wiltraut. It was subsequently determined that this hummer was originally banded in January 2011 by Nancy Newfield in River Ridge, Lousisana. "Rufus", as he has been named by Rick Wiltraut, thus became Pennsylvania's second "foreign recaptured" Selasphorus!

'Ruthie' was not the first documented Rufous hummer in PA, however. The first documented Rufous goes all the way back to 1975, a male Rufous in Chester Co. who eventually wound up in the Philadelphia Zoo! More than half a dozen other male Rufous have been documented prior to 1997 including one in Gibsonia, Allegheny Co., which was photographed on Nov. 10, 1991 by Jerry McWilliams -- one of the authors of the definitive work "The Birds of Pennsylvania" (by Gerald M. McWilliams and Daniel W. Brauning --Cornell University Press 2000), where under the Rufous Hummingbird species account on pages 247-8 you will find details on the others, as well as the county locations of many reports of Selasphorus spp. hummers which could not be conclusively IDed. Jerry's photo of the Gibsonia RUHU appears on page 248 of the book.

There were 2 other Rufous in PA that I know of in the fall of 1998, one visiting the Keim Orchard in the Boyertown - Berks Co. area from 9/15 to 12/31/98, and one reported in the Oakland/Shadyside neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County from 11/14/98 to 12/13/98.

Also see Scott Shalaway's Sunday Post-Gazette column of 12/11/05! This essay is also available on WindStar Wildlife Garden Weekly e-Magazine.

PLEASE CLICK ON THE YEAR DESIRED
IN THE LEFT TOOLBAR - UPPER TABLE

Click on this map for an enlarged version showing Pa counties where Rufous have been banded.

Selasphorus rufus



RUFOUS HUMMER ID INFO
As can be seen from the Selasphorus Rufus ID chart above, there should be no problem identifying male Rufous Hummingbirds. Both adult and young immature male Rufous hummers have tail feathers with NO green whatsoever. Older immature male Rufous can have rufous R1s (see photo below). The real problem in Rufous ID is with females. Both adult and immature females have green central rectrices (tail feathers) named the R1 feathers which when the tail is folded up cover the R2 - R5 feathers and make the tail appear green.


BucksCo AdFem RUHU with folded tail on feeder The picture to the left of a Bucks Co. Immature Female Rufous Hummer,
which was IDed by a spread tail image on video,demonstrates how the folded tail appears green.
But note how some rufous shows through on the rump of the hummer.

AdFem RUHU with spread tail on feeder The picture to the left of an Adult Female Rufous on a feeder shows
how the spread tail shows the rufous coloration on rectrices 2 through 5.
This is the view necessary to make a positive ID on a female Rufous Hummer.

AdFem RUHU with spread tail perched on a branch
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Here is another picture of an Adult Female Rufous with a spread tail perched on a branch.

AdFem RUHU with spread tail hovering near flowers
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Here is another picture of an Adult Female Rufous with a spread tail hovering near flowers.

AdFem RUHU with spread tail on feeder in Tabiona, Utah
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Here is a picture of an Adult Female Rufous with a spread tail on a feeder in Tabiona, Utah. (8/20/06)
Notice the dark R1s on the tail!
Picture by and courtesy of Marlene Foard.

Imm Male RUHU with spread tail on feeder in Tabiona, Utah
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Here is a picture of an Immature Male Rufous with a spread tail on a feeder in Tabiona, Utah. (8/28/06)
Notice the rufous-colored R1s on the tail!!! And the lack of green on the R2s (thanks Sheri Williamson!).
Picture by and courtesy of Marlene Foard.

Imm Male RUHU with spread tail -front, Denver PA
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Banded HY-M RUHU with spreadtail - front view - Dec. 2016.
Picture by and courtesy of Ruth Witmer.


Here are 2 pictures of an Immature Male Rufous with a closed tail in a backyard in South Dakota. (8/31/06)
Photography by Doug Backlund
Also see Donna Dittman's R/A Hummer tail feather illustrations (Selasphorus Figure 3) in LOS Bird which is referenced in the genus Selasphorus identification article in LOS News No. 189 Feb.2000 pg 4.
Also see the Rufous ID page from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Also see the VIREO ID slide show from Academy of Natural Sciences
And DON'T MISS Powdermill's Rufous ID Comparison Page!!!



AND ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT --

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