By Michael Goldman
With climate change occurring, it has been a fascinating birding journey. Yes, many species are being imperiled by climate change however, for birders, many unusual species have been showing up where normally one would not expect them. This was the case for me last month. As I was sitting big for the Big Sit I would occasionally check my e-mails from my phone. One such e-mail was from a woman who claimed to have an unusual looking humming bird at her feeder. As far as I know there is only one hummingbird which is classified as being native to Ohio, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. I was intrigued when the woman mentioned it was not green, rather it was a rusty orange, and had been by her feeder every day for the last 3-4 weeks. I thought it was odd, and of course asked for a photograph of this supposed hummingbird. A few hours later I received a blurry image of a very rusty orange hummer sipping at her feeder. It was indeed a Rufous Hummingbird, far out of its ordinary range of the western US. The hot dry months of September had allowed this western denizen to go far out of it regular territory and into the backyard of a happy Ohio resident.
This winter is supposed to be warmer than usual, and 2017 is predicted to be one of the hottest year on record. When you are birding this winter, be sure to take careful note of what species and subspecies you are finding. You never know if what you are seeing could be a southern subspecies off course, or perhaps just a very confused bird. These kinds of finding can be very important to report for climate shift studies.