Monday, June 15, 2009

Licenced to band

 A male rufous hummingbird sits in a twin berry bush just outside the window where I band.

I got my hummingbird banding licence in the mail from the Canadian Wildlife Service last week. Just in time for the Saturday morning session.

I wrote about the Hummingbird Monitoring Network here and here when we started in April.

We get up earlier and earlier to have the traps open a half hour after sunrise. These days, that's 5:15 a.m. I'm getting up at 4:15 to be there. Did I mention I'm not a morning person?

Things have slowed considerably from our big 135 bird day. Last weekend 22 rufous hummingbirds got caught in the traps out near the estuary.

It's expected that the number of birds will go down as the migrators pass through heading for points north or inland. The unusual thing this year is how many males are still being caught this late in June.

  We wrap each bird in a blanket and take various measurements as well as placing a 
     band around its leg. This male is getting weighed, the average is around 4 g.

We don't know why. It is one of the many questions that may be answered by this project some day.