Well, probably not a complete mystery. Just a mystery to me -- and a first sighting, too!.
I saw this fellow this morning (August 15, 2013) around 7:20. He is the most recent manager of a patch of Red Yucca on Silver SW that I visit frequently. This season I have also seen there, briefly a male Calliope (I got two pictures from a distance), and a male Rufous (quite a lot of good pics of him glowing in the sun).
But this fellow was big looking and very green. He was almost too serious about defending his territory (though there was a smaller hummer who he ignored from time to time; maybe that one was a female).
After watching this big green guy for a while, it occurred to me he might be a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, especially after I glimpsed the red of his gorget (area under chin). I looked him up in my books when I got home but find that Ruby-Throated are more eastern birds and aren’t supposed to be in our area (but we’re The Land of Enchantment, so who knows?).
The Broad-Tailed seems to fit the bill in several ways: they are in our area and have a lot of green, but are called “small” which my bird did not seem to me to be (his well earned big ego may have fooled me though).
I got a lot of pictures of him sitting in a bush with a good view of the Red Yucca patch. I also got some movies (which I’ll figure out how to put on YouTube one day).
What do you think he is?
I would say Broad-billed HB. They're big compared to our Black-chinned birds, but still "small." They usually make a buzzing "whirligig" sound when they fly, so sometimes you hear them before you see them.
Hmm, don't know about Broad-billed (pictures on line and in book don't match, those males are bluish green of breasts, gorget blends with green belly), however, this bird I saw was indeed very, almost shout/whistling at those he was driving away (I got his voice a few times in in .mov form). He may have seemed big because his back was so very green, a real sparkly gem-like deep green quality (second picture, atop his head)... or he may have been a jumbo-sized hummingbird. I'll check tomorrow to see if he's still there. I'm really glad to have this forum to post pictures and thoughts to!
Oops, sorry, a slip of the brain... I should have, and meant to write, Broad-tailed. Broad-tailed HBs are common up in the Sandias and Jemez Mountains and even the foothills. One year there were several at my dad's feeders, but I rarely seem them near the river.
My sighting was about 5 blocks east of Tingley Beach (as the crow flies) (I haven't seen any crows in the area recently though) (but lots of starlings).
If the hummer in question gets kicked out of his red yucca management position, he can go to the Beach and supervise the Canada geese. I bet he'd try!
Updated Friday, August 16, 2013.
I stopped by the Broad-Tailed hummer's summer vacation home again this morning. It was very quiet, but I had time so I waited. Patience paid off, for in about 5 minutes he roared onto the scene.
This is why he is a "Broad-Tailed" hummingbird:
He settled in the red yuccas, watching his territory from that vantage point:
Then, what should he see...
Is it an enemy intruder? or...
No! it's a new girl friend! Her name is Honey. She wonders why they call him "Mr. Lucky" He dances for her through the air (it only sounds like fighting because he is so talkative). She drinks from "his" hummingbird feeder and sits near him in the red yucca (she's in upper left, he's in lower right).
Maybe he'll convince her that his name is earned. But is there time for them to mate, then for her to build a nest, lay the eggs, and raise the kids (without any help from Mr. Lucky)? Only time will tell.
Cool photos. I suspect they've already mated once this year & raised young. Maybe they think there's time for one more clutch.
Just thinking about it as a human, it would be nice if he remembers her and isn't so rough as he might be with strangers encroaching on his (temporary) territory (it has changed hands... wings often, previously belonging to a Rufous I got pics of, and before that a black chinned). It would be interesting if hummingbirds started to change and begin to mate for a season, maybe even migrating together, as we know other birds that seem to mate for life.