For the past week, I've been watching closely for a female Rufous in the
yard in hopes that it'll be the fifth year return of the bird banded in
November of 2003. She was first noticed on August 11th last year. I was
beginning to get concerned because each year I've found her a little earlier
than the past year.

I've had an aggressive young male Ruby-throat chasing an occasional second
hummer off for the past couple of weeks. This morning, I observed at least 5
hummingbirds in the yard so I quickly increased my three feeders to seven.
Unfortunately, none of them was a Rufous. I was running late for work and
had to leave without having a good chance to really see them all well.

This evening after work, I walked into the backyard and as I walked toward
the bottlebrush (the Rufous' preferred perch) a hummer dropped down from the
oak (her other preferred perch) and perched on the top of the key lime tree
just in front of the bottlebrush. It was her (or at least a female Rufous).
As I approached closer to look for the band, she flew behind some bushes and
out of sight. This has been typical behavior of this bird each year. She
comes out and says "hi" and then hides for a few days before claiming
control of the yard.

Winter is here.

Steve Backes
Valrico, FL
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