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Hummingbirds Return from Mexico

Since May 17th of this year we have been conducting our hummingbird monitoring project. We have had 32 hummingbirds return to the same feeders that we originally banded them at over a year ago! Last fall these tiny hummingbirds travelled all the way to western Mexico where they spent the winter and then this spring they made the long trip again from Mexico back to Idaho. Pretty impressive for a bird that weighs about the same as a dime! About two-thirds of these returning birds are females, many of them returning to the same areas to breed again. Some of them might move to areas further north to breed, and have remembered this site as a great place to stop and refuel.

For those that haven’t visited us at one of our hummingbird banding sessions, below is a picture of a band we put on their leg. Each band has one letter and five numbers on it – if you can believe it! See the picture below – you can just make out the letter L and a number 8 (upside down). There are another 4 numbers printed on the other side of the band. Each bird gets a unique ID – sort of like their own social security number. No other hummingbird will have a band with the same number combination.

Photo by Liz UrbanOne of our biggest rewards is watching people revel at such a natural wonder and the opportunity to hold a wild hummingbird in their hand – even if only for a few seconds before the bird takes flight again. It’s a treat each and every time to watch someone do this for the first time. If you want to join us to observe the hummingbird banding process our next dates with availability are July 29, August 10, and August 28. Please email jessicapollock@boisestate.edu to reserve a spot. Space is limited. This event is free and open to everyone.

Hummingbird Release by Chris Hinderliter

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