Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hummingbird Banding on our Porch

It was an exciting afternoon! Veronica, one of two hummingbird banders licensed in Missouri, came by to capture and band some hummers. She banded 19 tiny birds in just under two hours! All but four of them were this year's juvenile males; the other four were this year's juvenile females.

She placed net "cages" over two of the feeders. Each "cage" has a big opening, and the bird flies in to get to the feeder. Their natural inclination is to fly up, so they go to the top of the "cage" and she reaches in and gently gets it. She then places it in a drawstring bag to move it from the feeder to her work table. Then she wraps the bird in a "footie" and weighs it. She sexes it by looking at a specific wing feather. Then she measures the wing and the bill. And she blows air through a straw to look for molting and body fat.

She then gets a teeny tiny little numbered leg band and she gently squeezes that onto the bird's teeny tiny little foot. She offers it some nectar and then lets it fly away.

Feels good to know that we are contributing to hummingbird research and data.

Hummingbird fact for today: Hummingbird banding is like holding magic. Banders are amazingly gentle and careful with the tiny birds, although as intercontinental migrants, hummers are tougher than they look.

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