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Allen's Hummingbird - December 13, 2009

Allen's Hummingbird at Leola, Lancaster County, PA
Pennsylvania's long-anticipated first Allen's Hummingbird was announced to the birding universe on 12 December 2009, when Scott Weidensaul banded this adult female at a residential area in Leola, northern Lancaster County. The next day I and many others braved rain, sleet, and icy roads to enjoy this latest addition to our state's list. It was very cloudy and dark, and before long also very rainy, but the bird appeared at dawn anyway, and visited the feeder at least eight more times over the next two rain-soaked hours. Photography was of course limited both by the wretched lighting and the rain itself which eventually seemed to slow the frequency of appearances by the bird.
As is so often the case, it was revealed that the bird had been present since mid-August and had anonymously made Pennsylvania home for nearly four months before finally being identifed. The one that almost got away! How many other Allen's Hummingbirds have stopped here in Pennsylvania, all of which actually did get away, might have been distinguished as the state's first?

Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/100 sec at f/5.6 (manual, pushed +1), ISO 500, tripod

Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/80 sec at f/5.6 (manual, pushed +1), ISO 500, tripod

Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/50 sec at f/5.6 (manual, pushed +1), ISO 640, tripod

Canon 50D, 500mm f/4L + 1.4x, 1/100 sec at f/5.6 (manual, pushed +1), ISO 500, tripod

Of course, as an adult female, this bird is pretty much indistinguishable in the field from adult female Rufous Hummingbird, without a really good and clear photograph of a spread tail (and even then such photos still might not be indisputable). Clearly all of the slow-shutter images above, all lacking any meaningful tail detail, don't make the cut as diagnostic for Allen's. But the bird's band was visible when it perched on the feeder, and one photo I made clearly shows the letter "L" followed by a zero. I suppose in some way this confirms for the lister in me that it was the same bird banded by Weidensaul and identified as an Allen's.


Unless explicitly indicated otherwise in the photo caption, all photos on this website were taken by and are 2003-2013 by Geoff Malosh. Unauthorized usage of these photographs for any purpose is strictly forbidden. If you are interested in using any photo for publication or if you are interested in obtaining a print, contact me at pomarine -AT- earthlink -DOT- net.