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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

First CMO banding for the year

Kelly Bryan and Charles Floyd came down from the Davis Mountains to band hummers at CMO early this morning. Anticipating a large number of birds I asked my sister, Ann, to come and help record. I'm glad she did because they banded 65 hummers, 49 of which were Lucifers. Seven of the 15 female Lucifers were gravid (pregnant), so there should be a good crop of juveniles this summer. It really helped having Charles assist, too. Things went smoothly and efficiently. If it had just been Kelly and me like was usually the case, it would have stressed me out with so many birds. Charles and his wife, Nancy, have moved to the Davis Mountains so I'm happy that we'll have their help from now on.

I feel like I'm the "Lucifer Lady." Who else in the entire world turns all the feeding ports on the Dr JB feeders so that the slots are aligned vertically to better accommodate a Lucifer's curved bill? And I make their sugar water solution in glass bottles, not taking a chance on any bad stuff entering it from plastic containers. Not to mention I've participated in a ten-year banding project just to be the one who did the trapping to ensure each hummer is handled gently and safely.* (Not one of the hundreds of Lucifers that were in my hands  has ever been injured, nor have any of the other thousands I've handled of other species either for that matter.) So it's gratifying to have a record number of gravid females. And banding is the only way I could enjoy that knowledge. Now if I can just locate a nest up on that mountain. There are lots of females in the Blue Oak vicinity, which I call the "nursery," but my knees just haven't let me clamber around on those steep slopes looking. But it's going to happen. If not this year, then next year.


* I should mention that banders are perfectly competent to handle hummers without injury, but when there are large numbers of hummers they need someone to trap so they can process the birds in a timely manner. And it's the potential trappers I would have concerns about, not the banders. Now that Charles and Nancy are here, both wonderful banders, I won't need to do the trapping much anymore.

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