A mysterious hummingbird that was spotted in Oak Park this past week is drawing much excitement from casual bird watchers and experts around the country.
The bird was initially believed to be a broad-tailed hummingbird, a species that breeds in the Rocky Mountains and spends winters in Central America. Experts know of no previous sighting of a broad-tailed hummingbird in Illinois.
Some people, however, are now speculating whether the young male is a hybrid of two different hummingbird species.
The Field Museum will attempt to use the bird’s droppings for DNA testing, which has never been done before on a hybrid hummingbird.
Source: Chicago Sun Times
Birdwatchers flocked to the neighborhood to try to spot it again and one tried to net it, to no avail. Hopefully, the results will tell us something new about these amazing little birds.
Image from Greg Neise Illinois Birders Forum.
UPDATE (27-Dec) DNA has solved the mystery
After extracting DNA from the base of two tail feathers plucked from the bird, staff at the museum’s Pritzker Laboratory determined that it is a young female and of the rufous species, which typically breeds in the Pacific Northwest and migrates south through the Rocky Mountains.