Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hummingbird Banding 2011

Nationally-certified bird bander Fred Bassett came to Pearl, Idaho, for the 7th year to inventory and band local hummers. Above is one of the traps. There's a door on the right held open with fishing line. Someone about 10 feet away will use that line to drop the door when a bird flies in. Then, the bird can be caught inside the trap and put in a mesh bag, where it waits until Fred give it a look.
Pearl, Idaho, is north of Boise in a shrub-steppe habitat. It's high desert, although not as dry of a desert as usual because our wet weather this year. Thus, more flowers.

After the birds are measured, weighed and banded, everyone gets a chance to hold a bird for release. Most of the hummers don't realize at first that they're free to go. The bird in this child's hand is a male black-chinned hummingbird. Look closely and you can see his new jewelry.

The banding table was shaded by a giant pine.

A female black-chinned hummingbird.

Fred placing a male black-chinned hummer in someone's hand.

The birds are placed in a piece of nylon stocking for their weigh-in. It keeps them still and calm. This calliope weighed 2.8 grams. The calliope is the smallest bird in the U.S. and Canada. The black-chinned hummers weighed between 3.5 and 4.1 grams. Fred says if you ever think you see a baby hummingbird at a feeder, it's a calliope, not a baby.

After birds are checked out, Fred buys them lunch. They always take him up on the offer.

Everyone gathers around to get a closer look.

A close-up of a calliope. This one has a couple of gorget feathers coming in


Another close-up of the calliope. Look how short its bill is, compared to the black-chinneds.

Peaceful bench on the property where the banding was held.

The waiting rack. Each mesh bag contains a hummingbird collected from a trap.

Irridescent purple gorget on a male black-chinned hummingbird.

Barbed wire wreath.

My daughter, Aviana, petting a hummingbird.

My kiddo waiting for a bird to fly into the trap about 10 feet away. She was in charge of lifting that red fishing reel to close the door when a bird flew in. The banding is held every year, and we've attended four years now. We plan on making it next year, too.

1 comment:

Birding is Fun! said...

Thanks for sharing those pics. My kids were sad that we live so far away now and missed it.