Saturday, July 14, 2012

Hummingbird Banding

 Margie's beautiful gardens are a natural magnet for hummingbirds.  She has been feeding them for years, and hundreds return to her yard every spring.  For several years, she and UNA biology professor and hummingbird expert, Dr. Robert Daly, hosts a hummingbird banding.  Margie invites all those interested to watch (admission is a bag of sugar).

Cages are placed over the hummingbird feeders with a door connected to a fishing line.  From the carport, the door is released when the hummingbird goes inside the cage.

Margie then catches the hummingbird and puts it in a mesh bag.  One time, I helped her and held a hummingbird.  It was like holding a butterfly; they weigh only about as much as three pennies.

It is very exciting for little ones to help transport the birds to the front porch where Dr. Daly does the banding.

 This is a hummingbird in the bag waiting for his turn to get a band.

Dr. Daly measures them, weighs them, and notes any particular characteristics.

The bands are numbered, and Dr. Daly keeps a record of all of them.  There was one hummingbird caught that had a band that Dr. Daly had put on it seven years ago.  By banding, they are able to study the hummingbird's habits.  They have proven that hummingbirds return to the same source of food year after year.

When finished, Dr. Daly passes the hummingbird to a child to be released.  There are always lots of children there waiting for the opportunity to hold a hummingbird.

Every year, Hub and I put out feeders and have several hummingbirds to watch, but never on the scale of Margie's.  It is my dream that someday, we will have enough to invite Dr. Daly here for a banding.  Maybe next year.