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July 25, 2005
TPWD Biologists Seek Help In Tracking Rare Hummingbirds
AUSTIN, Texas — “The buzz” is that Lubbock had its first confirmed sighting of a White-eared Hummingbird recently and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists are seeking the public’s help in tracking this rare bird and others around Texas.
“This is a very exciting find in the Lubbock area and for the Great Plains of Texas,” said Mark Klym, TPWD’s coordinator of the Texas Hummingbird Roundup. “The White-eared Hummingbird is one that few Texans have enjoyed in their own state, and for it to be seen in such atypical habitat is fascinating.”
The medium-sized “chunky” hummingbird has a round head, and a short straight red bill tipped in black. Other striking features are a black, slightly forked tail and distinctive white patch on the side of its dark head. The bird is normally associated with pine-oak woods and mountain pine forests and borders.
There were only 14 accepted records of this bird in Texas prior to this year, most of them west of the Pecos River. The bird is typically known to nest in New Mexico and southeast Arizona.
“This is a bird that we really have little information about in Texas because of its scarcity in the state,” said Klym. “Any information we get about the White-eared Hummingbird is a contribution to our knowledge on the bird.”
The Texas Hummingbird Roundup is a TPWD program that enables Texans to assist TPWD biologists study the birds’ feeding patterns, behavior, range and distribution. The program provides participants with a kit that includes a survey form and “A Quick Reference Guide to Texas Hummingbirds” booklet, with information on Texas’ species of hummingbird, how to clean and maintain feeders, and suggestions on additional plants for the garden.
“We suspect the White-eared Hummingbird is nesting in West Texas but have been unable to find a female working on a nest there,” Klym said. “Contributions from birders; home gardeners who have hummingbirds coming to their plants or feeders; and just interested people who happen to see hummingbirds are very helpful to us in learning about hummingbirds in general.”
For more information about the Texas Hummingbird Roundup, or if you spot a White-eared Hummingbird, please call (512) 389-4644.
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