Help Track Hummers
Each February, the Great Backyard Bird Count (www.birdsource.org/gbbc) sponsored by Audubon and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology provides a meaningful snapshot of the hummingbirds still lingering in the United States during the late winter season. Enter your own sightings during one (or all four) of the official count days, or check out the past year's results online. You can search for a detailed report by species, or create and compare maps.
Submit hummingbird sightings year-round on eBird (www.ebird.org), also a program of Audubon and Cornell. This online database tracks migrating birds throughout the United States. The data you and thousands of other birders provide will be used to create a colorful map of the timing and route of each species' migration. Scientists also use this information to glean valuable insight about hummingbird distribution and seasonal movement.
Hummingbird banders help to further our understanding of hummers' behavior and their requirements for survival. These licensed volunteers weigh and measure a captured hummingbird and then attach an aluminum band with a unique code to its leg. This information, and the data from each subsequent recapture, is then sent to the National Bird Banding Laboratory in Maryland for analysis.
Hummingbirds caught overwintering in the United States east of the Mississippi River are of particular interest to banders, so if you live in this region and see one in your yard after November 15 report it to the Hummer/Bird Study Group (email@example.com, 205-681-2888, www.hummingbirdsplus.org). This nonprofit organization will forward your information to the licensed bander nearest you.
Enjoy the Festivities
After the summer breeding season, hummingbirds begin migrating through the United States in remarkable numbers. Attending a hummingbird festival can be a fun way to enjoy the peak of the birds' fall migration, see banders in action, and, if you are lucky, perhaps even hold a hummer in your hand before sending it on its way. Check out the following festivals, or keep an eye out for other events:
- Hummingbird Migration Celebration, Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, Holly Springs, MS, September10-12, 2004 (www.msaudubon.com, 662-252-1155).
- Hummer/Bird Celebration, Rockport, TX, September 16-19, 2004 (www.rockport-fulton.org, 800-242-0071).
- XTreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza, Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, Lake Jackson, TX, September 11, 2004 (www.gcbo.org, 979-480-0999).
- Folsom Hummingbird Festival, Mizell's Farms, Folsom, LA, September 11, 2004 (985-796-9309, firstname.lastname@example.org).