Hummingbird season here in Tennessee is slowly coming to an end. Frantic feeding frenzies are beginning to slow down and numbers are dwindling as Ruby-throated hummingbirds wing their way southward. We had a most successful banding season to spite COVID, social distancing and stay-at-home orders. Our ever faithful small group of volunteers became my ‘bubble people’ and enabled SEAR to continue our research. Many THANKS to Mitz and LoraAnn Bailey, Ski Witzosky and Blue Bastin for their hard work this season. I couldn’t have done it without you all.
With all banding records now safely turned into the BBL we can report that we banded 2214 ruby-throated hummingbirds in 2020 and we visited 22 hummer host sites. Some just once, others multiple times. My sincere thanks to everyone who opened up their home and shared their hummingbirds with us. We enjoy our time with you and thank you for maintaining your feeders and inviting the birds and us into your yards. We missed some ‘key’ locations due to limited travel due to COVID but with a bit of luck we’ll pick those back up next season.
All 7 of our Hummingbird Festivals were also cancelled this summer. We did one virtual festival at Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge that reaped 15,000 ‘hits’ and we contributed to the virtual event held by Warner Park Nature Center. I also did 2 Zoom hummingbird programs along the way.
On September 10th, I hit a personal milestone. Banding my 10,000th hummingbird since spring of 2015. Hard work and dedication to this research project is beginning to payoff as we also got 3 reports of our hummingbirds banded one place and caught another allowing us to continue to put ‘dots on our map’ and learn more about hummingbird migration. We have a long way to go until we completely understand why they do what they do and when…but each recapture certainly adds to the story.
Finally, although Ruby-throat season is ending another will soon begin as SEAR begins winter hummingbird season. Consider leaving out one feeder this winter and if you happen to be one of the lucky ones, you might get a western winter bird visit your yard. We’d love to hear from you, come to your place, capture and band that visitor and officially welcome you into our 20+ year winter study.