Have you seen a hummingbird missing all of its tail feathers?

Have you seen a hummingbird missing all of its tail feathers?

Joined: September 19th, 2005, 10:07 pm

July 29th, 2011, 10:04 pm #1

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Joined: June 8th, 2011, 4:22 am

July 29th, 2011, 11:13 pm #2

Y es I have, I mentioned this on my unusual happenings or sightings. On another forum, before joining this great forum. A bird with no tail feathers was one of the thousands of birds that passed through down in south MS. This was one of my most unusual birds and it was quite a site. I also had one there with the upper part of his beak bent up in the middle. I believe the one missing the tail feathers was there for several days (3 or 4), but was not a resident. This was 5-6 years ago. That bird got me to look up "the use of tail feathers". I couldn't see how he was flying, but saw no problems. That is the only one I have ever seen. Great pic; I did not get a pic, but my cameras are on the bar waiting for that unusual bird now.
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Joined: September 19th, 2005, 10:07 pm

July 30th, 2011, 12:07 am #3

http://www.ruby-throat-hummingbirds.com/PAGE8GIFS.html

Visit the above link to watch the one I had a few years ago do some preening in an animated gif. He was missing all tail feathers except two. There are more gifs on the page and the one mentioned is about half way down.

Russ Thompson
http://e-hummingbirds.com
http://vimeo.com/hummingbirds
http://hummingbirds.photoshop.com
Louisville, Kentucky


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NLN
Joined: December 19th, 2005, 7:07 pm

July 31st, 2011, 1:15 am #4

Over the years, I have seen hummers missing all 10 tail feathers a number of times. This is not a normal molt pattern, but usually it is indicative that bird has had a close encounter of the predatory kind.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
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Joined: September 16th, 2005, 3:35 pm

July 31st, 2011, 5:32 am #5

You know how when you blow up a balloon, especially the elongated kind, and let it go...it goes zipping off out of control, doing loopty-loops, etc? That's how I envision a tail-less hummingbird flying!

Patrick
USDA Zone 8b
Heat Zone 3
Sunset Zone 5
SeaTac, WA...one cool place
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Joined: September 19th, 2005, 10:07 pm

July 31st, 2011, 12:06 pm #6

Actually Patrick, this hummer had no problems flying but I am sure he/she needs new tail feathers before migration time.

Russ Thompson
http://e-hummingbirds.com
http://vimeo.com/hummingbirds
http://hummingbirds.photoshop.com
Louisville, Kentucky


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Joined: June 8th, 2011, 4:22 am

July 31st, 2011, 4:57 pm #7

It has been about 5-7 years since I had a bird with no tail feathers; but I'm sure when I looked it up, I found that the tail feathers were not necessary at all - just a defensive mechanism. My bird did not fly any differently. I imagined that a cat had snatched the tail feathers. I had no cat and neither did my only neighbor. Had an elderly friend about 15 miles away that had a couple of cats with a hummer feeder somewhat low that told me she had found a hummer on the ground and had picked him up. He flew off into the sunset. Come to think of it, not moving for a couple of minutes would be another great defensive tactic.

Off Topic: A relative in another state has a beautiful yard with many flowers. She loves adding plants, feeding mostly Cardinals, 4 hummers (changes the nectar when it is black or runs out)(2 feeders), cats (has 2) and watching the cat get a Cardinal at the feeder every day or so. Now I think this is sort of sick! What do you think?
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Joined: September 19th, 2005, 10:07 pm

August 1st, 2011, 1:36 am #8

Disgusting! I hope you don't have anything to do with that relative.

Russ Thompson
http://e-hummingbirds.com
http://vimeo.com/hummingbirds
http://hummingbirds.photoshop.com
Louisville, Kentucky


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Joined: June 9th, 2011, 12:41 am

December 6th, 2012, 9:16 pm #9

there's one coming to my feeder now. It is no worse for wear without the tail, flies great and is in fact the aggressive controller of the feeder currently. Really looks strange though.
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Joined: September 6th, 2012, 4:39 pm

December 7th, 2012, 3:07 am #10

Hi Russ. I have a female Anna's Hummingbird with that exact look also! It's interesting to watch her fly without the rear rudder. John
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