Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What a difference two weeks makes

At the first hummingbird banding session (see April 7 below) we had a total of four birds.
Round two, we captured and measured 135 feisty jewels. Eighteen of those were recaptures from previous years including one from 2005 that must be at least five years old.
We could have caught many more but we were limited by a small crew of three. That meant two people on the traps and one banding non-stop. I caught two at a time more than once. This is what the feeder looked like at the end of the day (noon) when we took off the traps.

Male rufous hummingbirds, like this one, make up the vast majority at the feeders. They fly ahead of the females from the southern wintering grounds to establish a good territory up here, and further north, where they nest.

We were surprised to see a fair bit of territorial behaviour in the males at this point in the season. My readings indicate they are pretty easygoing during migration Maybe the local boys are chasing the other males off.

Females hung back and waited for the ruckus to settle before buzzing in for a sip.

If you feed humming birds at home, don't use the dyed solution or mix the solution too sweet, both can harm the bird's kidneys.

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