A brilliant laser beam of a metallic red throat lit up as this male Ruby-throat's gorget feathers bee-lined in the direction of the sun. It just so happened my wife and I were right in it's pathway. There can be little more intimidating than having a sharp pointed beak fly right towards your face and then stop abruptly within inches of piercing your eye. With the morning sun just above the horizon, this male's throat glowed like nothing you've ever seen. He did a few pops with his head, and that throat flashed brilliant red. He examined my wife, and then examined myself, and then flew off.
Knowing our Ziggy, this bird never showed any similarities in behavior. Ziggy knows us, and as comfortable as he is with us around, he still has that comfort distance rule that he doesn't break. This one was quite intrigued. He was very similar in size and had the brilliant red throat, but no doubt he was an impostor. It didn't take long to read his behavior and patterns. He obviously tried to avoid Ziggy, however, still hadn't solved his tricks. Ziggy knows his territory and has located a perch within view of each one of his feeders. He has to repeatedly move around the garden to maintain a tight security, but he has it all figured out.
This male actually came very close to us on several occasions, and gave me several opportunities to get a closeup. Although most male Rubies are extremely hard to tell apart, I like to look at the collar/throat neckline. That bottom line of red gorget feathers are like a DNA test for hummingbirds. Approximately 12 red feathers are laid out in a coded pattern that can be very different from one bird to the next. Some may have a very noticeable lower feather in one or more places within the 12. Some may be higher, some lower, and some in the middle or overlapped, and rarely you get the perfect even patterned throat.
This male had the appearance of only 7 large rounded feathers, with a peak of white right under the males beak. The best way to compare the males is to catch them in a relaxed state like this one, when he's simply sitting on a perch with his beak straight ahead.
Is it Ziggy? Not a chance. He's an impostor!
June 7, 2018. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Adult Male Ruby-throat hummingbird
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.