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Wintering Hummers Again

Loye Miller
Publication Information
3 (May-June)
From Field and Study

Wintering Hummers Again

More and more definitely the Costa Hummer (Colypte costae) is sttaining the status of “resident” on our southern California desert areas, and the change of status is in all probability not of the birds’ making so much as of our own manner of thinking.

Since Grinnell's first report in 1904 of Costas at Palm Springs, the records have been accumulating. To these data I would add the following notes. Three days, from November 30 to December 1, of 1934, were spent in Deep Canyon of the Santa Rosa Mountains, one mile off the road from Palm Springs to Indio. Birds were very scarce and only ten species were noted. Of these, Plumbeous Gnatcatchers were most abundant, Phainopeplas and Costa Hummers about tied for second place, Verdins were next, and Linnets rare. Costa Hummers thus occupied a prominent place in the avian picture. In walking one hundred and fifty yards up the wash, four of these birds were noted. Three females and one juvenal male were collected.

Adult males were noted and the nuptial flght performance was three times noted by myself, and once by a colleague. Blossoming shrubs of the chupa rosa (Beloperone californica) were fairly abundant, but the hummers were not restricted to their immediate vicinity. More female hummers were seen than males.

While the status of the species as a resident on the desert is becoming more apparent, winter records for the Pacific slope of southern California are appearing. Woods (Condor, 36, 1934, p. 116) noted a male Costa at Azusa, California, January 9, 1934. On January 6 of the present year a female was observed at Point Mugu, Ventura County, and was collected by Alden H. Miller (now no. 66856, Mus. Vert. Zool.).

Loye Miller

University of California at Los Angeles, January 16, 1935

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