Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hummingbird Banding

Can you imagine that those little tykes actually carry around a band on their legs?  There is a scientist in Patagonia, Arizona who founded a Hummingbird monitoring network all over the west coast.  On certain days during the year each of these locations along with "citizen scientists" spend 5 hours capturing, inspecting, weighing, measuring, putting an ID band and releasing hummingbirds!  The data is fed back to central location.  The days and times are the same for each location.
Magnificent Hummingbird
Beginning at sunrise the first Sunday in April and continuing  every other Sunday through September, one of these locations in Paradise, Arizona at the George Walker House does this.  We were here last year the first Sunday in April and happened to be here again this year on the first Sunday.  Because we had to wait to move our RV to a new location (see tomorrow for this story), we were late to the party today.  I got a photo of a Juniper Titmouse and a Bullocks Oriole, and did manage to snag some good photos of the process of a Magnificent Hummingbird. Turns out this bird had been captured before so did not need a new band. The process is similar.  Read the captions on each photo for descriptions and click on photo to enlarge.  Quite interesting.

NOTE:  No birds or humans were harmed in this process.

The trap used to capture the hummer.  When the hummer
enters the feeding area, a line is pulled
Reaching in gently to wrap hand carefully around the bird
In the grasp.  Same guy does all of them
Brings out the bird and carefully places in bag
"Bagged" another one!
Tools of the trade.  Note the numbered bands on the left.
Removing the hummer safely from the bag.
Inspecting an recording the band number
inspecting another bird who has gone docile and relaxed
Weighing the bird which was 3.6 grams!
Getting ready to feed the bird prior to release
Feeding the bird so it has energy to fly away and wakes back up
Placing the bird in another palm for release
This guy is ready to fly!!
And he is gone!
It was a slow day. All in all, they banded about 25 birds in a 5 hour stretch.  We had fun, ate stuff talked and photographed other birds!
For more information check out the hummingbird monitoring information here.

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