Yesterday we held our first hummingbird monitoring session of the year. According to our schedule, and the arrival of the birds in May, we were supposed to begin several weeks ago but the weather has not permitted us to safely band the birds. Tuesday, the weather held and our volunteers made it up and we ran a standard five hour monitoring session. Temperatures are still quite cold so we only banded two female Rufous Hummingbirds but that's a start!
The Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife has run a hummingbird monitoring station for the past six years. We are part of the North American Hummingbird Monitoring Network and work in conjunction with over 30 other stations and follow identical protocols. Our monitoring data goes towards an overall study on the health and status of hummingbird populations throughout western North America. Studies are showing a gradual decline in hummingbird numbers, making our work even more important.
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Here are a couple great macro photos of one of the females we banded yesterday. The first shows a closeup of the band on her foot and the second shows a unique up-close view of a hummingbird eye!