I have a Rufous HB visiting my yard - how unusual is this for this area - I"m in Windermere near Orlando??
Rufous Hummingbirds are rare/uncommon in Florida. Small numbers are expected but can be very local. This year has been a good year for them. They're being reported throughout the state. I have at least three of them in my yard.
Rufous Hummingbirds and Allen's are very similar. Only the adult males can be identified in the field. Young birds and females require in the hand identification or really good detailed photographs showing the individual tail feather. My birds are all young birds, two females and one male. I call them "Rufous" based on a few "good" photos showing tail feathers but I'm not 100% sure. A licensed bander will be in my yard mid-January to band the hummingbirds in my yard so hopefully then we will know for sure.
I've included a link to my post to floridahummingbirds.net's Proboard forum that includes photos of the "Rufous" in my yard.
Steve in Valrico FL
Here is a link that might be useful: Rufous in my yard post w/ pictures
Here's a photo of one of the birds in my yard showing her tail. The second feather from the center - red with black tip no white - (R2 = second rectrice) appears to be "pinched" at the tip. This feather on an Allen's Hummingbird will not show any notches on the tip. The outer feather (R5) on an Allen's will be thinner than they are on a Rufous. The last three feathers (R3-5) on the bird in the photo look relatively broad not indicating an Allen's.
FYI: Lacking a good view of the tail, these birds should technically be referred to as a Rufous/Allen's. Less than 5% of the Rufous/Allen's verified to species (trapped/measured/banded) in the East have been identified as Allen's indicating that at least 95% of the time, these birds are Rufous. That's a small percentage to be too concerned with a potential incorrect ID but there are times when it's important to be correct like official data collecting reports (Christmas Bird Counts, Great Backyard Bird Counts, eBird Reports, etc. )
Thanks for all the info Steve. I have been in touch with Fred Bassett and he has ID'd the bird as a young male Rufous. He mentioned that there were three in Valrico so I guess that would be you!! He also mentioned the banding trip so I have emailed him to say I would be interested in that if "Ruf" is still around then! All very exciting!
It helps if the males have rufous color on their backs. The young male in my yard still has a full green back so Allen's is still a possibility. A visitor to my yard this morning showed me a photograph of the bird's spread tail which appears to confirm that it's a Rufous.