- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - https://www.arizonabirder.com -

Tucson rarities

There are a number of rare and interesting birds sticking around in Tucson this winter, and today I caught up with a couple of them.

Violet-crowned Hummingbird is pretty rare in Tucson. I’ve only ever seen them in Patagonia and Bisbee, which pretty much constitutes their entire US range. But this winter there had already been a couple of Violet-crowneds in Tucson before, not for the first time, Rich Hoyer found a great hummingbird in his garden a couple of miles from our house. He kindly invited me to take a look.

Gorgeous bird! I was surprised to learn a little about their behaviour as it was the first time I’d seen one away from a busy feeder. Quite unlike, say, an Anna’s hummingbird, the Violet-crowned was not defending his feeder from the front, by sitting prominently and attacking aggressively, but always perched towards the back of the vegetation no more than a couple of feet off the ground. Consequently the photos weren’t up to much, but it was a new Pima County bird and great to see so close to home. There was also a Broad-billed Hummingbird at Rich’s feeders for my year list. And I think it’s about time there was a rare hummingbird at my feeders…

I still had a bit of time so I decided to try the Short-tailed Hawk again, which seemed to be getting regular at the usual spot around 4pm. I arrived around 4pm and expertly found it straight away, perched right at the top of the tallest tree (thus successfully evading decent photos). The real giveaway was the small group of birders at the side of the road all pointing and taking photos! 😉

Another state bird for me, taking the Arizona list up to a lukewarm 340. There are still a few decent birds in Tucson this winter that I haven’t caught up with, including a couple more lifers, so I hope to bring further tales of unbridled listing joy in the next few days…