We banded 371 new birds this year and had 212 returning birds who were banded in previous years. The 2015 total was 583 hummingbirds. Calliopes were the major species banded. There were also many Broad-tailed hummingbirds and a few Black-chinned. One Rufous female was also captured and banded on Sunday.
Interesting and unusual birds: Several birds banded in 2008 were recaptured this year. They were banded as adults so we consider them to be at least 1 year old at the time of banding. These 2008 birds, therefore, would be at least 8 years old.
Two male Calliope/Broad-tailed hybrid hummingbirds that were originally banded in 2013 were recaptured this year. Hybridization between hummingbird species has been well documented. When an unusual bird is found, body measurements and coloration help make the determination. These birds, for example, had solid throat gorgets, like a Broad-tailed, but the color was more like a Calliope. The birds had short tails like Calliopes and were midway between the two species in most other measurements. Another method to determine hybrids is to take a DNA sample on a feather, although we are not licensed to do that test.
A number of female hummers were found to have eggs in their tummies and/or worn tails from nest building. This indicates that nesting season at the ranch is underway.
We were excited to learn that bander Fred Bassett caught one of our birds at Inman Canyon near Inkom, Idaho on Monday. We banded Broad-tailed female # J 53434 at the ranch in 2014