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Monday, November 21, 2011

Rare Hummingbird Visits Vermont

By mid-November, most of the hummingbird feeders in Vermont have been taken down for the season (or the sugar-water has frozen solid), but a feeder in East Arlington, VT continues to be visited by a very cold, very lost hummer!

On November 19, Randy Schmidt of the The Vermont Bird Place & Sky Watch, in
Manchester Center, received a call from a concerned customer who's "Ruby-throated Hummingbird" hadn't yet flown south. As word of this unusual sighting spread throughout the birding community, many began to wonder whether this could be a rare, vagrant hummingbird species. By mid-September, most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have vacated Vermont for warmer climes, but during this fall/winter period, other species infrequently stray far from their wintering grounds and end up in very unusual places. When they do, they will often find a lingering feeder which they will stake out as their own.

This appears to be what happened in East Arlington, where the vagrant hummingbird has apparently been residing for weeks. It is believed to be of the genus Selasphorus, although a trained hummingbird bander will be visiting tomorrow to more thoroughly document this individual and identify its species. Needless to say, Vermont birders are very excited to have such an unusual avian visitor in our state, and will be anxiously following developments on this sighting.

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