News & Events

Rare Hybrid Hummingbird Spotted in Port Townsend

Author: Jefferson Land Trust | 04/23/24

Hummingbird on feeder

A rare hybrid Anna’s x Rufous Hummingbird in Quimper Wildlife Corridor.

Our friend Wendy Feltham is a Land Trust volunteer Preserve Steward, naturalist, and nature photographer who often generously shares her beautiful photos with the Land Trust. Earlier this month, she was observing hummingbirds at her home in the Quimper Wildlife Corridor when she made a discovery sure to thrill any birdwatcher.

Hummingbird on branch

Male Rufous Hummingbird by Wendy Feltham.

She writes, “Along with the resident Anna’s Hummingbirds and recently arrived Rufous Hummingbirds at my feeders, a different one appeared. Wondering if it could possibly be a hybrid, I shared these photos with some of my naturalist colleagues/friends, including Jackie Canterbury and Steve Hampton. Jackie reached out to experts who band hummingbirds in Juneau, Alaska, and Gus VanVleit, the ‘eBird guy’ for Southeast Alaska, confirmed that this was indeed a hybrid hummingbird.

To be sure, Steve reached out to THE hummingbird expert, Shari Williamson, author of ‘A Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America,’ wondering if the rufous (red) color might be feather angle reflections. Shari replied, ‘That rufous color is real. The intermediate shapes of the greater secondary coverts and the truncated crown iridescence are hybrid traits seen in other Anna’s x Rufous [hybrids].’”

Hummingbird on spring branch

Male Anna’s Hummingbird by Wendy Feltham.

Hybrid Anna’s x Rufous Hummingbirds have been spotted in the Western US before; however, such sightings are extremely rare. Thank you to Wendy for sharing the photos and this exciting story with us!

We also encourage you to check out eBird, a tool for tracking and identifying birds managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. eBird is among the world’s largest biodiversity-related science projects, with hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of regional experts, and hundreds of thousands of users. More than 100 million bird sightings are contributed to the project each year by eBirders around the world. You can learn more and create your own eBird account here.

Hummingbird on feeder

Another image of the hybrid hummingbird by Wendy Feltham.