The dominant chatter Wednesday on the Wisconsin Birding List was of a Green-breasted Mango spotted at a rural home a few miles west of Beloit, Wisconsin. The large curve-billed hummingbird is a rare wanderer into southern Texas, according to Kenn Kaufman's Field Guide to Birds of North America. Before this week, it had never been recorded in Wisconsin. Its normal range is in Mexico and Central and South America.
Mike Ramsden, a Beloit-area birder, was the first to identify the mango. He got a call from the owners of a home surrounded by farmland in extreme south-central Wisconsin. "They called me on Labor Day weekend, asking if it was possible for a Rufous Hummingbird to be here," he said. Ramsden went to the home but did not see the bird. The couple enjoy backyard birding, and their hummingbird feeders attract many Ruby-throateds.
Ramsden returned a couple weeks later, saw the bird and knew right away that it wasn't a Rufous. "I couldn't figure out what it was," he said, until he checked the Kaufman field guide and concluded that it could only be a Green-breasted Mango. He called Mark Korducki, who chairs the hotline committee for the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology. Korducki posted the alert Tuesday.
I drove the 70 miles from the Birder's World offices Wednesday morning and met Ramsden and Korducki. After a 40 minute wait, the Green-breasted Mango made a very brief appearance at the feeder, then flew away.
By that time, about half a dozen birders were present, and more will likely be arriving in the next few days. The homeowners are graciously allowing visitors on their property. Details on the location can be found on the Wisconsin Birding List. -- E.M.