bumblebee hummingbird!!

rembetika(austin, TX)August 5, 2006

my friend who lives nearby just told me tonight she saw a BUMBLEBEE hummingbird -- on the mimosa tree by her apt. window!!! or that's what we think it is, because it was definitely the size of a bee... or more accurately, a cicada killer (large wasp). it was being chased by a larger (average sized) hummer, so she could see the size difference clearly-- in fact she thought it was a large bug, until it perched on the tree and she looked closely and realized it was a tiny hummer. she said it appeared to be about an inch big! there's no other h-bird that size that i know of... and i know the bee-birds are native to mexico. aren't they rarely seen in texas? should we report this to the local hummingbird watch group? i wonder what it was doing up here.. sign of global warming maybe? or, do all birds sometimes go out of their normal range for reasons unknown to us?

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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

Please post this message over on Hummers. Mark lives nearby over in Bastrop, and he might be able to help you.

Keep us informed.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 11:30AM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

hi there Lt. C, & thanks! i did post over there last night, and got several responses but mark is convinced my friend saw the h-bird moth. however my friend is 100% convinced it was a bird. she has a very keen eye & is an artist who draws insects in incredible detail. she actually saw it perch on the tree so she got a good look, several times.. she saw its beak and everything. i'm hoping to go over there tonight to see for myself- although it actually rained here today (a miracle in itself!) but hopefully it'll come back.
i know mimosas are not native & are considered somewhat invasive.. but i just might have to get one of those suckers for my yars if this is what it brings! (is that so wrong...?)

my first thought was that whatever weird weather changes we're going through are going to cause all kinds of havoc that we're not used to seeing, in the coming years-- like animals ranging beyond their native territory to find food, better weather, etc.. i dunno, but.. just something to think about.

btw,, off the top of everyone's head.. anyone have recommendations for the best dig. cameras for capturing close-up detail, quiet (as not to scare the critters), affordable (less than $400-ish), and simple to use (not too many bells & whistles),, and long battery life?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 6:46PM
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tracey_nj6(6)

It must be a hummingbird moth; check out this thread...
Hummer Moth(?) Visited My Garden Today (pics).
It's on the Perennial Forum; the thread starter posted great pics of a HM...

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 7:24PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

my friend is absolutely, positively 100% sure it was not a hummingbird moth... she knows that they look like. she says saw its beak and everything else that makes a bird a bird.
i am waiting right now for her to call if she sees any hummers in the mimosa tree tonight. it is usually loaded with them, but it rained, so as of an hour ago, the tree was empty. if she sees anything i am going to fly right over there!
i probably shouldn't be posting til i see for myself- but i wanted to find out if anyone else has seen these in texas, even though there are no official reports of it. i will keep you guys posted as soon as i know anything!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 8:07PM
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flutterbug(NH 5b)

A clearwing hummingbird moth from 1 foot away. Notice how it looks like it has a beak. If you look at the second picture, you can faintly make out it's long, curled up tongue. There are different kinds, this is the larger kind. Even when looking at it up close, I could understand someone swearing it's a baby hummingbird. It's colors remind me of a bumblebee. Maybe your friend saw one of these.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 11:47PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

hhmmm... yeah,, ultimately i can't tell unless i see it personally. but she swore it was a little hummer, about an inch big. it didn't look at all like a bee.. just was the size of a large one. seems impossible, i know! but i'll post more if i find out.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 12:13AM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

just a follow-up to this message... i probably should have put a "??" in my message instead of a "!!",, until i see it myself. my friend hasn't had anymore micro-bird sightings, then again she's pretty busy and doesn't spend a huge amount of time glued to the window, watching the tree.
but here is something to think about,, this is a news article about a northern jacana native to mexico that has just been spotted in TX. this was the first thing that crossed my mind when she swore to me she saw a tiny hummer... perhaps if it really was a bb-hummer from mexico, maybe it has to do with global warming, which is already wreaking havoc on so many ecosystems everywhere. i'm not in TX at the moment, but hope to be talking to the TX rare bird sighting people next week to get more info. & then i plan to get a good pair of binoculars (& a good digital camera) and hang out by her tree on a busy hummer day- to see if there's anything to this. it would be pretty cool if there was. (or maybe it's more scary than cool...?) stay tuned...

Rare bird spotted in Texas valley (Fri, Aug 11, 2006)
MISSION, Texas - Birders from around the country have been coming to the Rio Grande Valley to catch sight of a Northern Jacana that is far north of normal range.
The colorful, long-toed water bird was spotted at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco on Aug. 5 and at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park on Thursday.
The bird is normally found in Mexico and Central America and has been seen occasionally in Texas, usually in the winter months.
James Booker, a naturalist at Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park, said the species hadn't been seen in the Valley in years.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2006 at 11:48PM
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idic

You know rembetika it is very interesting that you bring up this point about Global warming . . .
I wandered over here to see if anyone was talking about unusual hummer sightings and low and behold I found your post.
I'm in North Carolina (Peidmont) just North East of Charlotte. WE have just moved into a new home and one of the first things I did was do a little planting out front. About three weeks ago I noticed a humming bird hovering at my purple Verbenia. I have very poor vision so I could not tell what it was. A few days later my older daughter 19 commented that she had seen a humming bird out by the Verbenia - she called it almost ugly because it was so drab looking. Then my 15 year old daughter comes in and chimes in that she never saw such a plain looking hummer. . .
We got on the web and started searching - finial found a pic that matches what they saw. Imagine my shock when they picked a Magnificent Humming bird out of the lineup LOL.IÂve gotten in touch with our area extension office and the State expert on HBs for help in Iding this little guy / gal.
Who knows maybe there are migratory pattern changes in the air.
Just my 2 cents.
Cindy

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 5:25PM
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lagatita

I stumbled across this site while researching a tiny hummingbird that I saw last weekend while visiting a town east of San Antonio. It was the most amazing creature! At first I was sure it had to be a bumble bee; the size could not have been more than an inch or so long. But after it decided to "dine" on a batch of flowers less than six feet from us, there was no doubt. The little guy has a dark gray underbelly with a white "saddle" across a black back. Best of all, he was unaffected by the fact that we were in close proximity as he continued to feast on the plant. In fact, he left and came back about fifteen minutes later; long enough for us to grab a camera a get a few pics of him dining on the flowers. What a perfect little creature!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 2:28PM
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rob_a(9)

rembetika, I'm in San Antonio. Google hummingbirds of texas and you will get the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site. They show pictures and a list of all of hummers we get in Texas, even the uncommon occasional hummers. You can report your sighting there, but they want details.

We have the hummingbird moths here as well and they are smaller than our common ruby throated and black chinned.

With our unusaully hot summer, I have watched this year for some of the other varieties that we have in the coastal areas that might have moved north. I've seen none. Just RTs and BC. But a change of climate might move species we haven't seen before north to us.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2009 at 9:52PM
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orrin_h(Tucson, AZ)

AZ has a record of Bumblebee Hummingbird, based on 2 specimens taken sometime (I think) in the 1800s. The record is dubious however because of questions of exactly where the specimens were taken (AZ or Mexico).

Climate changes do seem to be affecting the movements of some birds, but I must remain skeptical on this one.

BTW, Cindy, Magnificent Hummingbird is huge compared to 'almost' all other North American species; that should help with your ID issue.

-O-

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 12:30PM
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rob_a(9)

If you will zoom close on your picture, you will see the resemblance to the photo below. Notice the antenna(?) on top and the shape. I believe you have a Hummingbird Moth.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2009 at 2:47PM
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