[Tweeters] New Hummingbird Discovery

Mike & MerryLynn m.denny at charter.net
Wed Apr 1 10:42:27 PDT 2015

Hello All,

Just an interesting note on a discovery and how these things often are
nearly lost- Pasqual, Arizona- On 7 May 1997 a Mr. Harley Lathers
located a large Orb Spider web in his garden and flashing brightly in
the morning sun were three metallic iridescent tiny feathers that were a
color Mr. Lathers had never seen in his many years of looking at birds
in the area. Harley was drawn to the bright color and the odd shapes of
these feathers. So he collected them and mailed them to the well known
ornithologist Dr. H Thomas Heckens at Arizona State University. Dr.
Heckens is said to have received these three bright tiny feathers some
three days later. Upon opening the package with the small glass vial
with the feathers in it Dr. Heckens took a quick look and placed the
small box, its note and the glass vial on a counter in his office and
went to lunch. On his way to lunch Dr. Heckens was thinking about the
three tiny bright feathers he had just looked at when he stepped out in
front of a delivery truck and was struck and rendered useless. The three
feathers in the small glass vial sat on that counter for five months
until a replacement Ornithologist was hired. The new person was Dr.
Petra Ustanko whose specialty was pelicans and cormorants. While
clearing out and cleaning up Dr. Ustanko came across the small vial with
the three feathers in it. Having poor eye sight Dr Ustanko placed the
small vial in a drawer in the department museum and closed it without so
much as a second look. Some five years later Dr. Ustanko departed the
University and and was replaced by Dr. Kevin "buddy" Comstock who was
into field collecting and building up study skin collections for "his"
museum. So the small vial sat another seven years in the dark drawer.
Then came Dr. E.Burtrum Peggester who is a taxonomist and deep into the
infinite detail of birds. It is Dr. Peggester that once again located
the small vial with the three tiny bright feathers. He was instantly
interested in these feathers due to their peculiar shape and color.
Convinced that these three feathers were from an un-described species of
hummingbird. The year was 2011 and Dr. Peggester was due to retire and
so he quietly took the vial home with him to study further. Some three
days later the Peggester home was blown apart by a faulty gas stove-the
small vial was sent many hundreds of yards out into the desert and the
vial was broken. The three feathers were blown away into the desert.
Some one week later a Mr. Judd Lathers was out in his garden when he
noticed a small oddly shaped brightly colored feather in an old Orb
Spider web. He collected it and sent it to his dads old friend Dr. E.
Burtrum Peggester retired biologist.

Amazing story!
Later Mike Denny


More information about the Tweeters mailing list