September 21, 2021 is officially the last day of summer and it is also our official last day of hummingbird migration banding for this season. It was indeed a season of ups and downs and ongoing challenges due to COVID. Festivals were cancelled and certain locations not visited for health and safety reasons. But regardless we managed to continue our research and band 1816 Ruby-throated hummingbirds plus one adult male Rufous Hummingbird in Paris, TN on September 15th. I personally also reached a banding milestone this season. I can now say I’ve banded over 12,000 hummingbirds since recieving my Master permit in October of 2014!
We had some fun surprises this season. During breeding season we were alerted to a hummingbird nest built on a battery-operated light hanging on a porch. We were able to get pictures of eggs, momma incubating and of the babies. What a treat! We had three reports of lucistic hummers, one evaded us and the second one was caught after an hour wait. We were able to band this young male and then a week later he showed up across town at another home where we verified it was indeed ‘our’ bird. The adult male Rufous Hummingbird in Paris was another grand surprise and that banding set us up for future bandings at this ‘high volume’ lovely home. The ‘best’ surprise of the season by far was the return of the Allen’s Hummingbird to the home of Mary Goodenough on August 15th. Pictures have verified it is indeed the same hummer we banded there on a frosty morning in December of 2020. Stay tuned for his amazing story to be published very soon.
This season we also welcomed two new crew members and I began to train Dr. Michael Collins of Rhodes University to band hummingbirds. Michael and I share a deep appreciation for those who helped us and others along the way, so it is a natural fit and great opportunity to share Bob and Martha’s hummingbird legacy with another enthusiastic bander.
As always I want to thank all my hummingbird hosts. We could NOT conduct our research without you. You generously open your yards and homes to us multiple times a season, maintain feeders with the utmost care, help us spread the word about ‘no red nectar’ and about our important hummingbird research.
To all my volunteers…you guys are the BEST! We travel many miles together over a season, getting up at o’dark thirty to get to our research locations, we play weather roulette, shiver together on cold mornings and sweat it out on those hot humid days but you’re always there with a smile and helping hand. Your support, your friendship and your hard work is priceless and I can’t THANK YOU ALL ENOUGH!! It’s an honor and a pleasure to have you all as part of the crew and I look forward to many more seasons with you!
So onward to winter hummingbirds…we’ll see what surprises and and how many species we get this winter season. Until then be well and as always happy hummingbirds!!