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...http://birdbanter.com/index.php/2021/02/22/the-bird-banter-podcast-92-with-cyndi-routledge-additional-info/ I invite you to listen and share with any hummingbird fancier you know!
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. https://wpln.org/post/more-winter-hummingbirds-are-spotted-in-tennessee-giving-data-on-these-elusive-creatures/ I hope you take a few minutes to listen and pass it on to anyone who might be interested.
Exciting news was received on 12/28/20 when veteran bander and colleague Fred Bassett called me to report he had recaptured a hatch-year male Allen's Hummingbird wearing one of my bands at a host home on Mobile Bay, Alabama! Turns out I had banded this very Allen's hummingbird at the home of Mary Goodenough in Fayetteville, TN on December 8, 2020. A quick call to Mary Goodenough, confirmed that said Allen's Hummingbird was spotted and subsequently photographed in her yard in Fayetteville, TN on September 29, 2020 and was there for 10 weeks, departing sometime during the day on December 9, 2020 as that was the last day Mary saw him. The distance between the two points - Fayetteville and Mobile Bay - is approximately 417 miles almost directly south. We'll never truly know the 'exact' route, or just how long it took the Allen's to get to Mobile. What we do know is that his Alabama host first noticed him on Christmas Day and 3 days later Fred Bassett captured him and discovered his band. We will continue to monitor him in Mobile to see just how long he stays at his 'beach' home before leaving to return to his breeding ground along a narrow strip on the Pacific coast from Oregon to California.
It was a busy Thanksgiving week for SEAR. We had multiple reports of winter hummingbirds that culminated in the banding of a juvenile male Allen's Hummingbird in Rutherford County, the second Allen's in Tennessee this November and the 10th banding record overall. Followed quickly by the banding of a juvenile male Rufous Hummingbird in Ecru, Mississippi. The weekend ended with a most exciting report and pictures of a juvenile male Anna's Hummingbird in Bledsoe County. Unfortunately this hummingbird only stopped at the feeder for a couple hours and by the time we got there the bird hadn't been seen for a few hours. The last time there was an Anna's Hummingbird in Tennessee was January 6, 1995 and that bird was banded by the late Bob Sargent. You win some and you lose some...but it's all about taking the chance when the opportunity presents itself. Keep watching those feeders as you never know what might show up!!
The 2020 Winter Hummingbird season is off to a terrific start in both Tennessee and Mississippi with multiple sightings and banding sessions. From the return male Rufous in Williamson County to a very late Ruby-throated hummingbird in Davidson County just yesterday I've been busy 'running the roads' and banding these fascinating winter hummers. Sunday, November 22nd found me in Haywood County at the home of long-time Tennessee Ornithology Society member and editor of The Migrant, the Club's pier reviewed publication where we banded an adult female rufous hummingbird. (Pictured here). It was good to see old friends and celebrate this bird with them. Please continue to keep your feeders clean, partially full of fresh nectar and watch for a winter visitor in your yard. You just never know what might show up!
It’s hard to believe that we’re in mid-October already. Ruby-throated hummingbird migration banding season ended for the most part on September 29th with the banding of 5 very FAT birds including the fattest I’ve ever banded…a hatch-year female that weighed 6.20 grams! As of today, I still have at least one ruby-throat in my yard and a few of you report you have one or two as well. I suspect they’ll all be gone on the next good north wind. The season was not without challenges due to the Pandemic and we missed visiting a few of our ‘higher’ volume locations due to travel and overnight stays. Hummingbird numbers at feeders we visited were up and down with no real explanation but were just glad to be able to do some banding. We had a great surprise with the banding of the Mexican Violetear in Clarksville in July. You can check out my blog posts for pictures of that bird as well as other news that might be of interest. https://southeasternavianresearch.org/sear-blog-updates/ When this season began, I truly had no expectations. My hope was to visit a few host homes and conduct a bit of research while keeping the safety of ‘us humans’ front and center. Thanks to my ‘bubble volunteers’, Mitz and LoraAnn Bailey, Ski Witzosky, Jackie Bastin and Steve Routledge we were able to accomplish that and so much more. I hit a personal milestone on September 10th, having banded 10,000 RTHU since spring of 2015! I never would have imagined reaching this number in only 5 short seasons. We visited 22 different hummer host locations having added 6 new strategic locations this summer to our research study areas and banded 2228 new hummingbirds. I banded a total of 45 days from June through September. Our highest count day took place at the South Welcome Center of LBL on September 3rd where we banded 160 new ruby-throats. My overall average recapture rate remains between 12-27% depending on host location. We had numerous 2nd, 3rd and even a 4th year recaptures, which we LOVE to see. We had two instances of RTHUs banded at one [...]