Recent Happenings2021-10-20T13:41:16-05:00

Winter Hummingbirds

Rufous Hummingbird


803, 2021

The 2020-2021 Winter Hummingbird research season comes to an end…

Hummingbird spring migration is official underway, the first of the Ruby-throats are arriving on the coast and winter hummingbirds still present are getting ‘fat’ in preparation for their journey ‘home’.  With all this and the change of seasons, our winter hummingbird research for the 2020-2021 season comes to an end. It was a wild and crazy winter that actually began in July with the appearance of the Mexican Violetear in Clarksville, TN. Although not ‘winter’ the bird was clearly on a ‘migration’ journey. We had to wait 2 months for the next winter hummingbird call but that call came the last week of September with the news of a return Rufous hummingbird in Thompson Station.  We went out and lo and behold the hatch-year male we had banded back in November of 2019 was indeed back for a 2nd winter in all his 'big boy' glory. As we rolled into November the calls kept coming all the way through March 5, 2021 with the banding of a second-year male Broad-tailed hummingbird in central Mississippi. The juvenile Allen’s Hummingbird we banded at the home of Mary Goodenough in Fayetteville on December 8, 2020 didn’t want us to forget him. For after departing there 2 days post banding, he was recaptured on Mobile Bay by Master Bander Fred Bassett on December 26th.  He didn’t stick around there long but 6 weeks later was [...]

3003, 2021

Ruby-throats are returning from their wintering grounds! A few things to remember while you wait for yours to show up…

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are making their spring by day more and more are being seen and reported.  It's an exciting time for everyone!  We wait all winter for their return and like sand through an hour they come, slow but sure. In preparation for their arrival here are a few reminders: First, get those feeders out, dust them off, rinse them good and partially fill them with 1 part white table sugar to 4 parts water.  Boil if you won't drink your tap water or if you prefer to but MOST IMPORTANTLY - NO RED DYE. Hang one or two where you can view them.  Keep the nectar fresh and feeders clean while you wait.  Make note on a calendar when you see your first one...that way you'll know for next year. Male Ruby-throats will be the first to migrate in...they're NOT SCOUTS they're just the first migrants to find your feeders.  I'm not sure where the idea of a 'scout' originated, but I've never seen so many folks call these first hummers scouts in all the years I've been doing this.  By definition a 'scout is someone or thing that comes ahead, finds what they're looking for and returns to report what they've found to others.  Hummingbirds DO NOT do that nor do they report to any other hummingbird.  They are solo, selfish creatures who would like nothing [...]

904, 2021

So you’ve found a baby bird on the ground….

Spring has sprung and soon those eggs you've noticed in your birdhouses, bushes or trees will begin to hatch.  And notoriously it's also the time baby birds are found on the ground and my phone starts ringing with frantic calls of 'what to do'... Here's a great reference tool put out by our friends at Massachusetts Audubon.  And if you need to find a rehabber here's a link to the 53 dedicated individuals in Tennessee.  Just click on the gray tab and the list will appear by County.

2104, 2021

Help us help hummingbirds by spreading the words…”NO RED NECTAR”

Our new t-shirt design was a huge success last year and we've had a few requests for shirts since the campaign ended in 2020. So we decided to hold a 2 week only event this spring once again offering shirts, both unisex and woman's, to serve as conversation starters, a walking and talking billboard to spread the word that NO RED DYE should be used to make hummingbird nectar. Please join me in educating the public and supporting our ongoing research by purchasing a t-shirt. All proceeds will be used for continued hummingbird research and education. Southeastern Avian Research is a 501(c)3 non-profit research organization. We were established in 2014 to promote the conservation and preservation of hummingbirds and other neotropical migrants through study, research, education and banding. We invite you to check out our ongoing work at Thank you for your support through this fundraiser. Copy and paste the link below into your browser and make your selections.  Two week after the campaign ends you'll recieve your t-shirt in the mail.  You can start wearing it and spreading the word.   THANK YOU!

Ruskin Cave Hummingbird Helper

Will She Return?

Female Rufous Hummingbird, (Selasphorus rufus), dubbed “Frosty” did not return for her 4th winter.

Unfortunately Frosty did not return for her 4th year.  But her hosts were honored she spent 3 winters with them and they continue to watch for a ‘new’ winter visitor!

Photo by Graham Gerdeman

Photo by Graham Gerdeman

SEAR Accomplishments

  • SEAR hosted banding training efforts during the winter, spring and fall migration seasons.

  • SEAR participated in 7 hummingbird festivals in 2019.  Check ‘Events’ to find out where we’ll be in 2020.

  • Our Eastern Screech Owl study at Cross Creeks NWR continues.  We banded our first group of 3 nestlings in May 2018 and hope to find them living and breeding on the refuge in the years to come.

  • In June 2018-2019, SEAR participated in Earth Camp sponsored by the Friends of Cross Creeks.  We will continue to participate in this great outdoor activity for local children.

  • SEAR is once again a ‘gold’ sponsor for the Wings of Winter Birding Festival to be held in January of 2020.  This status is from ‘in-kind’ volunteer hours.

  • SEAR presented 8 educational programs in 2019 in and around middle TN.  If you’re interested in one of our presentation contact us.

  • SEAR assisted and participated in the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge “Festival of Cranes” for the 5th  year. And have been invited back for the 2020 event.

  • SEAR coordinated and ran the banding efforts at Strawberry Plains 20th Anniversary Hummer and Nature Festival.  It was our 5th year and we’ve been invited back for the 2020 celebration.

  • SEAR banded 2022 RTHU at hummer host homes in Montgomery and Stewart Counties during the 2019 season. Recap rates averaged about 28% for birds caught for the second, third and fourth years in a row at the same location.

  • SEAR leader Cyndi Routledge and TWRA biologist Polly Rooker continue to instruct the avian classes of the Tennessee Naturalist Program at Owl’s Hill each April.

  • SEAR has been invited back to the University School of Nashville in March of 2020.

  • SEAR continues to work under contract with TWRA to color band and monitor the Loggerhead Shrike population in TN.  We banded our second group of nestlings this year, did a 6 County sweep in search of LOSH and participated in the annual Eastern Loggerhead Shrike Working Group conference.  Sear developed and monitors a listserv for members of the group.

  • In November SEAR will begin year three of our Northern Saw-whet Owl Study in conjunction with the long running OwlNet Research Program. Last year we caught, banded and released one owl.  We’re hoping for a few more this year.

  • For the 4rd year SEAR is participating in 3 separate studies with University of California at Davis Vet School under the direction of Dr. Lisa Tell.  We are proud to be apart of these ongoing studies.

  • SEAR continues to work on the RTHU nesting study being conducted by Dr. David Pitts.  We hope to continue to participate in year 10 of this study.

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