Saturday, August 21, 2010

Those Amazing Hummingbirds!

Rufous Hummingbird (male) chillin' in the shade earlier this Spring in my backyard.

About a week ago I posted about the Hummingbird Banding in Pearl, Idaho.  One of the hummers captured was a recapture, a bird that had been previously banded!  Recapturing is the whole point of banding, right?  Scientists can learn a lot by recapturing banded changes in plumage, weight, fat stores, migration routes, etc.

Fred Bassett informs me that the recaptured hummer was an adult female Black-chinned Hummingbird that was originally banded in October 2009 in Slidell, Louisiana.  I didn't even know they had BC's in the south, but Fred says he averages 30 or so BC Hummers in the Southern states during the winter and eBird reports confirm it. 

If the hummer followed the most direct route on the highways, which they don't, that would have been over 2,200 miles.  Now think about this...this little lady BC Hummer was probably migrating south from somewhere north of Idaho, so it had probably traveled much further.  How cool is that!?

Fred Bassett sharing his knowledge of hummingbirds with loads of curious adults and kids.
Another exciting recent recapture story has been making the circuit of birder's email inboxes...A sub-bander of Fred Bassett, Fred Dietrich, banded a female Rufous Hummingbird in Tallahassee, Florida on 13 January 2010.  It was recaptured by Kate McLaughlin on 28 June 2010 in Chenega Bay, Alaska!  That is a migration of at least 3,500 miles and now holds the record for the longest documented hummingbird migration.  Amazing!  To see pictures of this record holder, check out Fred D's photo site here.


  1. Love rufous hummingbirds. One of my favorites when I was out west. Nice image!

  2. I like to see a sitting hummingbird for a change - great photo!

  3. Thanks for sharing the photo of the Rufous Hummer. It's great to see another type of hummer.