2010 Suspected Hybrid

On March 30, 2010, Mike Hamilton posted photos of a hummingbird at the Rowing Club (Marymoor West).  This bird is believed to be an Anna's x Rufous Hummingbird hybrid.  Mike West saw Mike Hamilton's photos and recognized that it might be a hybrid.  Dennis Paulson confirmed the probable identity.  Kudos to Mike West for noticing that this bird was not just another Anna's.  The differences can be subtle to see.

Mike Hamilton's amazing photos can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeham

I have begun watching this bird a bit more closely, as this hybrid is not well-known to science.  Here's what I have observed so far:

The bird, at first or even second look, seems like an Anna's Hummingbird.  It's behavior seems rather "Anna's" to me as well.  It shows a high degree of site fidelity. In fact, when Mike posted his photos, I was pretty sure I knew exactly which hummingbird he was talking about, since we'd been seeing an Anna's on the same set of perches for several weeks.  In the first couple of weeks since Mike's posting, the bird has been reliably seen on the same trees.

So far, I have not heard it chatter, with the rich vocalizations that Anna's males are known for.  However, it's possible that Anna's quiet down a bit by April.

On April 8, I returned to the location.  The Anna's was visible several times, but it would disappear for up to five minutes at a stretch.  At one point, I pulled out my iPod and played the Anna's Hummingbird track from the Cornell Labs Bird Songs of the Pacific Northwest.  Very quickly, the bird came in, quite agitated.  I let the track play through two times, and the bird continued to buzz around intently.  It made the tick call that Anna's make during this time.

Below are my photos.

The bird was observed 3/30, 4/1, 4/3, 4/8, 4/11, and 4/15, always in the same area.  It was probably present for several weeks before 3/30/2010.

2010-04-08.  Note that the gorget covers the throat and face like an Anna's

2010-04-08.  Note the gray wash to the breast, as on Anna's.
But also note the rufous in the tail

2010-04-08.  In flight, or when the tail is spread, it appears very rufous

2010-04-08.  Note the rufous wash at the shoulders, as well as on the tail

2010-04-08.  The undertail coverts are Anna's like,
though the spots appear rufous-tinged

2010-04-08.  Not sure if we're seeing the ventral or dorsal view of these tail feathers

2010-04-08.  The rufous shoulder wash is quite evident here

2010-04-08.  From this photo, the bird would be hard to tell from an Anna's
Photo by Mike Hamilton.  Note the orange on the side of the tail feathers.