ADVERTISEMENT

Hummingbirds Tracked During U.S. Southwest's "Second Spring" [Slide Show]

Monitoring hummingbird populations during the peak of fall migration in the Chiricahua Mountains helps scientists foresee how these primary pollinators of more than 150 U.S. flowering plant species respond to changes in climate

1 of 13

REFRESH AND RELEASE:

A volunteer feeds a hummingbird before it's released. The bird drinks heartily, filling up its crop with sugar water, before fluttering off.....[ More ]

A MASTER'S TOUCH:

Wethington demonstrates how to appropriately grip a Calliope hummingbird gently and safely.....[ More ]

GENTLE GRIP:

A young volunteer slowly closes her fingers over a bird and gently applies a "bander's grip."....[ More ]

RECORDING DATA:

A record is made of all the birds' measurements and their weights. The data, which are submitted to the Bird Banding Laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey, can help inform researchers about population and migratory patterns.....[ More ]

PENNYWEIGHTS:

The bird is placed on a scale to get its weight. The larger Magnificent hummingbirds weigh between seven and eight grams and the Broad-tailed hummingbirds between three and four grams. The Calliope hummingbird, the smallest found north of Mexico, generally weighs between two and three grams (about the same as a copper penny).....[ More ]

BIRD BREEZE:

Wethington uses a straw to gently blow air on the bird to check for molt, fat and pollen. These measurements are all recorded.....[ More ]

MEASURING TIME:

Wethington properly identifies a male Blue-throated hummingbird, measures his beak and wing.....[ More ]

LIKE A BRACELET:

Bands are chosen for every bird individually to match specific criteria so they are as comfortable as a wearing a watch or bracelet.....[ More ]

ON THE BANDWAGON:

While in mesh holding bags, the birds each receive a band, or, if there is an existing band, its band number is read off to the recorder.....[ More ]

HUMMER-GO-ROUND:

The birds in mesh holding bags wait their turn to be measured, weighed, fed and released.....[ More ]

GENTLY, SOFTLY:

A student volunteer explains how to gently handle a trapped hummingbird and place it in a soft mesh holding bag.....[ More ]

IT'S A HALL TRAP!

As these birds feast on nectar, a trigger line is released, and a weighted mesh curtain falls around the birds. The Hall trap, especially designed by retired engineer and volunteer Lee Rogers, is more efficient than typical mist nets and wire cages.....[ More ]

FLOWER POWER:

A Rufous hummingbird fills up on nectar from one of the many blooming flowers attracting a diversity of hummingbird species during migration in the Chiricahuas of southeastern Arizona.....[ More ]

risk free title graphic

YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. If I like it, I will be billed for the one-year subscription.

cover image Subscribe Now
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Share this Article:
Scientific American Back To School

Back to School Sale!

12 Digital Issues + 4 Years of Archive Access just $19.99

Order Now >

X

Email this Article

X