SEAR Blog – Updates!2019-11-22T15:04:29-06:00
2104, 2021

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

By |April 21st, 2021|Categories: CR Blog|0 Comments

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!

904, 2021

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

By |April 9th, 2021|Categories: CR Blog|0 Comments

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.

3003, 2021

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

By |March 30th, 2021|Categories: CR Blog|0 Comments

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are making their spring return…day 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 glass…here 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 more than to have that feeder all to itself.  Recall what you witnessed last fall…the fights, the jockeying for feeders.  That is the true nature of a hummingbird.  Some folks have told me they ‘know all this’ and only use the word ‘scout’ in reference to the ‘first ones to show up’.  Okay, I get that…but to others the word ‘scout’ means just what the definition says it is…and that’s spreading misinformation.  Will it harm the hummers?  No.  But why not use proper terms and each opportunity to teach someone who aren’t familiar with hummingbird behavior the right ones?

Also remember that the numbers you saw at your feeders late last summer and early fall are NOT the numbers you’ll see this spring.  It is fact, that across the whole avain world, only 1 in 5 fledglings will live to see their first birthdays.  Sad but true and goes the same for hummingbirds.  Many inexperienced birds will have perished and only adults and 1 in 5 juveniles will make it back.  So do the math…statistically you will never see the number of ruby-throats at your feeders in spring as you do in fall.   In addition these spring migratants are on a finite time mission in spring.  They must feed and move on to their breeding grounds.  To where they were born to mate and reproduce .  They don’t need to hang out and ‘get fat’.   That’s what we see in fall migration when the next generation of hummingbirds are on the ground  ALL hummingbirds start the slow migraiton southward.  It is inevitable that I hear each spring “where are all my hummingbirds”?  Because we remember the feeding frenzies and not the weeks and months prior.

In addition it’s also good to know that the few birds that will stay in your yard, because they were born there, act very differently during spring breeding time.  Females are busy building nests and reproducing…then sitting on her eggs protecting and incubating them most of the day and all night.  Males are busy defending a territory and wooing the ladies.  Then once nestlings hatch the females spends hours a day hunting food and feeding them…perhaps only stopping by your feeders for a ‘quick pick-me-up’ as they always prefer natural foods during this time…no one can live by sugar-water alone. 80% of a hummingbird’s diet are insects and the slurry fed to nestlings must be high in protein so they can grow.  While the females are busy raising the young the males are still looking to mate with other females and by mid-July are already heading ‘back south’…having completed their job in the cycle of reproduction. I suggest keeping a dairy or field notes to refer to from year to year so as not to get caught in the worry and misbelief that ‘hummers are disappearing’…

Take good care of your hummingbirds with common sense practices.  Keep feeders clean, nectar make correctly, fresh and clean.  Avoid the use of ANY pesticides in your yard. Hummingbirds need soft-bodied insects to eat and by avoiding the chemicals you’re providing a healthy well-rounded habitat.  And NO RED DYE…can’t say that enough.

If you have any specific questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact me directly…


803, 2021

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

By |March 8th, 2021|Categories: CR Blog|0 Comments

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 spotted again by the host, recaptured and confirmed to be the same Fayetteville hummingbird.  A first for SEAR, a first for an Allen’s Hummingbird in winter on the East coast.

In total we banded 33 winter bird of 7 different species in TN and MS.  Between Master bander Emma Rhodes and I we banded 18 winter hummers in Mississippi.  In TN, I banded 15 different individuals.  We had 1 Mexican Violetear, 19 Rufous hummingbirds, 6 Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, including 1 individual that was banded in February and confirmed still present on March 1, 2021, both firsts for a ruby-throat in TN as stated by the Bird Banding Lab. In addition we had 2 Calliopi Hummingbirds, 2 Allen’s Hummingbirds, 1 Black-chinned hummingbird and 2 Broad-tailed hummingbird to round out the season.

It was a great winter season, but there’s still much to learn about these winter hummingbirds and it’s our hosts who make it possible by allowing us access and hosting these amazing birds.

It’s with much appreciation and thanks to all those amazing hosts for their dedication to these  hummingbirds!!  From providing clean feeders and fresh nectar for months, to providing heated-feeders or warming lights, to changing out nectar two and three times a day during February’s arctic blast of cold, snow and ice.  Thanks as well to all those who left out a feeder hoping this would ‘be the year’ you had winter visitor.  Perhaps next year??  You just never know where one of these winter beauties will show up?

Here’s to a great breeding hummingbird season for everyone!  Be well, stay safe and enjoy those tiny little flying jewels!

And thanks to Graham Gerdeman for the lovely picture of the banded adult male Rufous Hummingbird currently being hosted by Sharon Temple in Thompson Station, TN.

2202, 2021

Bird Banter…a wonderful Podcast out of Washington State and this month features Hummingbirds!

By |February 22nd, 2021|Categories: CR Blog|0 Comments

Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Ed Pullen and recording an episode for his podcast “Bird Banter”.  We chatted about hummingbirds.  Here’s a link to the podcast…

I invite you to listen and share with any hummingbird fancier you know!

2501, 2021


By |January 25th, 2021|Categories: CR Blog|0 Comments

A phone call in almost a year ago began a series of events that culiminated in a wonderful story on NPR’s!  Here’s the link to the story.

I hope you take a few minutes to listen and pass it on to anyone who might be interested.

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