Wintering Rufous hummingbirds are being reported throughout east and middle Tennessee, and have been arriving since August, keeping Mark Armstrong, the Master Hummingbird Bander in the eastern part of the state, very busy.
I had the pleasure of accompanying Mark and his wife and assistant, Jane, as they traveled the two hours to northeast Tennessee on November 24th to band wintering hummingbirds. Our first stop was Erwin, TN, to visit with Candy Casey (below) who is a new birder and was excited about her first opportunity to see a hummingbird upclose.
Bird Banding Lab in Patuxent, Maryland, the central location for U.S.bird banding data. These bands are invaluable to scientists who are studying the migration patterns, survivalship and health of bird populations.
The hummer is held in a stocking while it is banded to help keep it calm. You can see how tiny the band is in the image above.
Below, Mark is measuring the hummingbird's beak with a digital measuring instrument. Each of the measurements he takes helps to identify the sex, age and species of the bird.Hummer Study Group website and contacted Bob to report the hummingbird. Bob, in turn, encouraged her to contact Mark. The Hummer Study Group has provided a central location for reporting the presence of western hummingbirds in the east, the most common of which, is the Rufous species.
Another view below of the throat gorget feathers. The light striking the feather determines its color. Sometimes the feathers appear green or gray. `
Next: Another female Rufous in Johnson City, TN
Links and Resources:
Nov 11, 2013 report on Western Hummingbirds Wintering in Tennessee
In recent years, fourteen species of hummingbirds have been documented in the east during fall and winter months. In east Tennessee, report sightings to Mark Armstrong at Woodthrush@bellsouth.net or 865-748-2224. For a list of contact information for other eastern areas, visit winter reporting on the Hummingbird Study Group website or report sightings to Bob and Martha Sargent, Rubythroat@aol.com or 205-681-2888.
Other blog posts on Wintering hummingbirds in Tennessee
Visit Bob Sargent's information on wintering hummingbirds
Bob Sargent describes the Rufous Hummingbird as very cold-hardy.
Sargent on wintering Calliopes and the Allen's Hummingbird
Hummingbirds in watercolor
Hummingbird art on Vickie's Sketchbook blog