Sunday, January 23, 2011

Catching a Hummingbird

Saturday morning was cold with a chance of snow flurries, but that didn't deter us or Hummingbird expert, Doreen Cubie from setting our sights on catching a hummingbird.

We live in a temperate climate and about 4 years ago I noticed a little hummer still coming to our feeder well after Thanksgiving. I checked it online and that led me to Doreen's site. She lives about 30 miles south of me and was interested in coming and trying to tag our bird. It was magical! She caught our young male Ruby throat and my then 4 year olds were mesmerized! She returned the following December and almost caught another, but he outsmarted us!

Right after New Years Day, I noticed a male Ruby-throat at our feeder! We have had one of the coldest winters on record here, yet there he was. I changed out the frozen water and cleaned up the feeder. Then I saw him again last Tuesday and emailed her. It was perfect timing for her as she is traveling all over the south catching birds and she happened to be here this week.

She arrived at 7:30am and it was about 32 degrees. She said they usually come quicker when it is cold, because they need the sugar water to get going. She set up her bird-cage trap around our feeder.
 It only took about 10 minutes before we spied the hummer form my office window. He went to the cage and tried to get in, he went around to the door opening and flew in to get his morning "coffee". She has the door on a long piece of fishing line. When he flew in she pulled the line and the door shut. She carefully took him our and put in a mesh bag. Brooke got to hold him. See him at the bottom? His beak was sticking through and it felt like a sharp needle.
 Then Doreen takes him to her "lab" (back of her truck) and looked for any tags. We thought he may be our bird from a few years ago, as she had re-tagged many birds that return to the same place each winter. But he has no tag. He is a full male that weighs about 3.2 oz about the weight of a dime!
 She tagged his foot and then wrapped him in the toe of a stocking and fed him from my feeder. he drank and you could see his throat moving and his tongue!
 Here he is. His throat looked quite orange and she said that was an older male.
 Then we were done and ready to set him free. As before, the girls put their hands together and Doreen laid him gently in and removed the stocking. It takes him a minute to realize he isn't bound anymore. This one was really ready to fly away- he stayed only long enough for me to click this one picture, then flew off!
What magical fun! 

1 comment:

  1. This reminds one summer when I was young and staying at my grandparents farm on the weekends, a hummingbird hit their bay window one morning while I was eating breakfast, my grand mother was busy doing something so I sneaked out and bought it in the house. I laid it on a napkin next to my cereal bowl, it must have just been knocked out because by the time I finished eating it decided to hop up and fly through the house. My grand mother was not happy, but I can't remember how we caught it or let it out.
    thanks for the memory