Hummingbird Banding Event / by Chris Dahl

Smith Gilbert Gardens had their annual Hummingbird Banding event on Saturday 9/7/19. I really did not know what to expect when I decided to go to the event.

The Gardens started preparing the birds a few weeks prior to the events. They put the feeders in a cage that had one side open. This got the birds used to looking for the opening to get to the Nectar. On the day of the banding they added the trap doors. Once a bird entered, the door was closed and then someone would go collect the bird and bring it back to the workstation for the logging of data.

Waiting his turn for the scales and measuring.

Waiting his turn for the scales and measuring.

I did not take detailed notes but they did weigh the birds and measure the wings, beak and tail. They judged the age and health of the birds as well.

Fun fact, A hummingbirds beak is wrinkled when it is young and gets smoother as it ages.

If the bird did not have a band, it would get one. If it had a band it was recorder along with the other data.

Health check complete, Let me go!

Health check complete, Let me go!

This picture really gives you a sense of how tiny these fast and furious birds are. They were very calm considering what they had gone through. I guess they figured if they had not been eaten yet they were in the clear.

I have always thought that I had the same family come to my backyard each year. There is a good chance that I have, but the males tend to move around to many females. The ladies raise the young as Dad moves on.

Hummingbirds usually lay two eggs and breed twice a season.

Once the babies fledged, they are pretty much on their own and need to use that internal desire to go south when the time comes.

I am out of here!

I am out of here!

Julia from Birdwatchers Supply did a great job of answering questions and educating the visitors on the birds and process. She kept a keen eye on the birds. If they looked weak or stressed she would let them go right away. If they were healthy and calm she placed the birds in someones hand, flat on their belly.

They would sit there for a few moments, and if they were still unsure a Little puff of air on their feathers would send them off.

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I am always very sad when they leave my corner of Acworth and go south. But after this event I have a whole new respect for these tiny birds. They fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico with no refueling stops along the way. The instinct to fatten up and the courage to make that flight is unbelievable.

I encourage you to go to events like this and learn a little about our environment.

The next time you see one of these little guys buzzing from the feeder to the highest tree limb, think about that flight they will make in the fall across the Gulf.

For more images follow this link.