Ornithology 2B Summary (Fall 2009)

If you miss a class, please check this page and study the listed topics in your field guide. Click here for last year's calendar.

Class notes by Elisabeth Koster are here.

December 16

We reviewed the hummingbirds on pages 276 & 278. Click here for Paul Conover's excellent hummingbird identification site. This will be the last class of the semester. We will continue on February 10, 2010 with the woodpeckers on page 282. See here for details.

I recommend Lisa Hug's CD on "Feather Watching." It can be ordered here.

December 9

We completed and reviewed the trogons and kingfishers on pages 278 & 280. My photo of an Elegant Trogon fledgling is here. Click here for my photo of an immature Belted Kingfisher and here for my photo of a Green Kingfisher.

December 2

We reviewed the hummingbirds on pages 276 & 278.

November 18 (Note: There will be no class next Wednesday. We meet again December 2nd).

We covered the hummingbirds on page 278. Click here for photos of a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird from Oklahoma. Many Rufous Hummingbirds have green backs and are indistinguishable from Allen's Hummingbirds. Allen's is restricted to coastal California and is generally absent from Northern California after the end of August. Identification of either species outside normal season or range is not advised unless the bird is in hand. The most detailed information is in "Birding" (pgs 18-29) Vol. XXIX: No. 1, 1/97 by Heidcamp. However note the information in "Table 2" should be used with great caution.

Click here, here, and here for my photos of Allen's Hummingbirds. A photo and discussion of a male Selasphorus thought to be Rufous is here.

November 11 (Note: Class will be held as scheduled. CCSF observes Veteran's Day on Friday, Nov. 13th, not today).

We completed and reviewed the hummingbirds on page 276. Click here for my detailed account and photos of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Nevada City, California. Click here, here, here, here, here and here for photos of more Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in California. Photos originally thought to show a Blue-throated Hummingbird are here. The bird is actaully a Black-chinned Hummingbird. A detailed discussion of size illusian in birds is available here. Click here for a controversial photo of an Anna's Hummingbird thought by some to be a Costa's. My photos of Anna's Hummingbird are here and here.

Female Archilochus hummingbirds do not show the white supraloral stripe evident in female Calypte hummingbirds. Female Ruby-throats have a shorter bill, greener crown and narrower outer primaries compared to female Black-chinned. Female Costa's are grayer above, whiter below and longer-billed than female Anna's. Calypte is the only hummingbird genus in which the birds habitually sing from a perch.

Click here for a photo and discussion of a mystery hummingbird (probably Black-chinned). A photo and discussion of a mystery Calypte sp. (possibly Costa's) at Pinnacles is here.

November 4

We will start with the hummingbirds on page 274. Click here for my account and photos of a male Broad-billed Hummingbird in Sonoma, here for my notes on a Broad-billed Hummingbird in Goleta, and here for a photo of a Broad-billed Hummingbird at Weldon, California. Click here for details and photo of California's first Magnificent Hummingbird and here for photos of a Magnificent Hummingbird in Eureka, California. Click here or here for my photo of a Plain-capped Starthroat at Ash Canyon, Arizona 20 July 2003.

Added: My photos of male and female Magnificent Hummingbird in Costa Rica are here and here. Additional California Broad-billed Hummingbirds are here, here and here.