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firstly, in central nc, should i expect any other humming bird besides ruby throated? more specifially, how much time should i spend/would you spend identifying a humming bird seen in central nc? is it fair to submit a fly-by hummer as ruby throated due to, "it cant be anything else?"

secondly, as im getting used to nc birding, im hearing a LOT of red shouldered ... chatter? in the woods by my house and in my most frequented park there are a pair or more (ive seen 3 at most, and believe ive heard 4 at times) and they are very vocal.  much much more than the red taileds im used to from ohio.  is this normal?  its a little hard to identify/differentiate the two by call, but im starting to in my head (but not on ebird unless i can verify visually) just based on how noisy they are.  i mean, sometimes they go on for 2 or 3 hours! ive also read recently in this forum that someone else also has noted how vocal they are. 

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8 minutes ago, floraphile said:

Could you be hearing Blue Jays mimicking Red Shouldered Hawks?  They do that a lot here in Alabama.  

definitely not

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Posted (edited)

RSHA in the south are notoriously vocal in breeding season.  Once they leave the nest, the newly independent youngsters almost never shut up.

As to hummies, other species may show up in the winter.  Once migration starts, if there's no evidence to the contrary, I personally assume RTHU.  Incidentally, I had my first ones in central SC today.  If I saw them today, they've probably been here several days.  If you're going to feed them in central NC, it's a good time to get your feeders out.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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Possible hummingbirds in C. North Carolina:

  • Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
  • Black-Chinned Hummingbird (RARE)
  • Anna's Hummingbird (RARE)
  • Broad-Tailed Hummingbird (RARE)
  • Rufous Hummingbird (RARE)
  • Allen's Hummingbird (RARE)
  • Calliope Hummingbird (RARE)
  • Broad-Billed Hummingbird (RARE)
  • Buff-Bellied Hummingbird (RARE)
1 hour ago, insanityslave said:

is it fair to submit a fly-by hummer as ruby throated due to, "it cant be anything else?"

Even though Ruby-Throated Hummers are the only likely hummingbird, I would still leave it as "Hummingbird sp." just to be safe.

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Posted (edited)

Here in central SC, only Black-Chinned, Rufous, Allen's, and Calliope have been sighted.  Only four bird of those combined species have ever been reported between April and September.

As to central NC, from AAB, all years, April - Sept

  • BCHU - 0
  • Anna's - 0
  • BTHU - 0
  • RUHU - 2 in early April, 1 in late Sept.
  • Allen's - 0
  • CAHU - 1 in late Sept.
  • Broad - 0
  • Buff - 0

That's four birds after migration is under way.   That's why I was deliberately explicit about migration in my previous post.

In the middle of either state, during the warm months, I'm comfortable with defaulting to Ruby-throated,  and I think @insanityslave should have no qualms about doing the same.  I think there's no statistical support for anything else.  Obviously, different people will have different levels of comfort with this approach.  Depending on the species, location, and time, I'd probably agree. Sorry, gang, not on this one.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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Posted (edited)

And yes, I'm aware of the possibility that the data doesn't show other species in the summer because everyone reporting is -assuming- all Hummies are Ruby-throats.  If there were others species zipping by too fast to be positively identified, they'd likely show up at feeders too, where the differences from RTHUs would be more easily noticed.

In the winter, I'll back y'all to the hilt.  -IF- I were fortunate enough to see a winter Hummie in the Carolinas, I'd start with the assumption the bird was anything except a Ruby-throated.  Rufous have become the more common suspect, with the occasional Black-Chinned.  Due to my near- total unfamiliarity with either, I'd wind up marking 'Hummingbird sp.', both frustrated that I couldn't ID it and overjoyed to have seen it at all.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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14 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

RSHA in the south are notoriously vocal in breeding season.  Once they leave the nest, the newly independent youngsters almost never shut up.

As to hummies, other species may show up in the winter.  Once migration starts, if there's no evidence to the contrary, I personally assume RTHU.  Incidentally, I had my first ones in central SC today.  If I saw them today, they've probably been here several days.  If you're going to feed them in central NC, it's a good time to get your feeders out.

thanks, @Charlie Spencer, i appreciate it!

thats what ive noticed about the rsha, definitely a lot more vocal recently. still moreso in the winter than im used to from rtha.

what sparked my hummer question is my wife was outside and came running in yesterday hopping like kid on christmas and said, "we had a humming bird! we had a humming bird! it was red and green." so i thought, 'great our first rthu of the year!' then, 'hm... what if its not a rthu....? so, being new to nc, i dug around and it seems theres little else it really could be even IF my wife hadnt seen any colors. (ps. feeders have been out for a few weeks now) 🙂 

so basically if i see a hummer at my feeder ill consider it a rthu and NOT drop everything, run for my camera/binocs, and spend who knows how much time looking and pining over pictures trying to identify it. that said, if im running a checklist, i WILL take some photos, etc, to verify.

and fwiw @everyone else, i DO spend a lot of time ensuring my reported species are accurate. im not a its-probably-a-Xbird-so-ill-just-report-it-anyway-kind-of guy. but i like to keep a i-probably-saw-Xbird-at-Xlocation list in my head so i can do further studying/research and be more prepared next time im there should i see it again. 

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