The Spring/Summer/Fall 2012 Season

The Spring/Summer/Fall 2012 Season

NLN
Joined: December 19th, 2005, 7:07 pm

March 18th, 2012, 11:36 pm #1

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Last edited by NLN on August 19th, 2012, 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: September 16th, 2005, 12:08 pm

March 18th, 2012, 11:38 pm #2

You are off to a good start Nancy. That is great news that the male was a returnee from last year.

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
Penny
Zone 6a
Western NY state
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Joined: January 26th, 2008, 10:36 pm

March 19th, 2012, 1:49 am #3

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Nancy - Do you think the warmer weather is bringing some of the birds back a little earlier? I know the length of daylight is a main factor, but could the weather also bring some early birds to Louisiana?

Still seeing adult male RTH here. Saw two today! Still guarding their respective feeders. They always make me smile when I see them.

Don't you just love those returnees! Sounds like you are off to a good start for Spring! I will be looking for your posts here on this thread. I always enjoy what you and Kevin post about your banding adventures! And I am really interested to hear about any and all returnees. I hope you see many returnees throughout this year!

~Becky~

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NLN
Joined: December 19th, 2005, 7:07 pm

March 19th, 2012, 4:21 am #4

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Becky commented: "Nancy - Do you think the warmer weather is bringing some of the birds back a little earlier? I know the length of daylight is a main factor, but could the weather also bring some early birds to Louisiana?

Still seeing adult male RTH here. Saw two today! Still guarding their respective feeders. They always make me smile when I see them. happy.gif

Don't you just love those returnees! Sounds like you are off to a good start for Spring! I will be looking for your posts here on this thread. I always enjoy what you and Kevin post about your banding adventures! And I am really interested to hear about any and all returnees. I hope you see many returnees throughout this year!"

NLN: People are always trying to make correlations between weather events and weather trends and other natural phenomena, but I just don't see it a lot of the time. Trees may be leafing out early and there may be some unseasonal flowers because the lack of a hard freeze here in southern Louisiana, but a hard freeze can be a single day event whereas the overall warmer winter is a trend that might affect things on a local basis. I just don't see how birds that have been 500+ miles south of the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico could possibly know what the weather conditions are.

We always hope for a good season. The start this year seems about average. Next week might be more telling. We don't expect a lot of returnees because we have not had high numbers of breeding season Ruby-throateds since Hurricane Katrina. Katrina probably didn't directly impact our breeding population because they had pretty much departed by the time the storm hit. However, the subdivision where our site is located was badly damaged. More than 200 homes were destroyed, mostly by falling trees. And in the clean-up process, many, many more trees were removed preemptively. Additionally, a new subdivision was developed next to the one in which we work, so a whole lot of habitat was destroyed. Lost habitat ain't coming back.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
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Joined: January 26th, 2008, 10:36 pm

March 21st, 2012, 3:32 am #5

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Nancy - That is sad and very unfortunate that Katrina and progress & development of the land has permanently taken away some of the hummer's natural habitats. I'm actually kind of relieved that the housing bust has spared quite a bit of the natural habitat here. Before the recession, the building industry was going gang busters locally and it really made me sick to see all the wooded areas being torn down to make another housing development. That's one of the good things that came from the stagnant economy. (But I know a lot of people lost their jobs though. Always two sides to each situation...)

Just curious, what is the estimated percentage of surviving young hummers that make it to adulthood? From what I have read, if they make it to adulthood their chances for survival increase dramatically. Is that true?
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Joined: August 25th, 2007, 3:30 am

March 24th, 2012, 4:37 am #6

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Becky:

I haven't looked through everything yet, but I couldn't find any studies estimating that percentage, and of course it depends on when you begin counting: do you count every egg laid, every one that hatches, every one that fledges and leaves the nest?

If I had to take a shot in the dark, though, I'd estimate that fewer than half of the birds that fledge each year survive to adulthood and successfully return to breed. It could be more, it could be less, but it's a hard number to calculate.

Kevin Morgan
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Joined: September 16th, 2005, 12:08 pm

March 24th, 2012, 7:42 pm #7

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Living up here in NY I can easily agree with Kevin's evaluation since I have seen such a decline in the 12 yrs we have been here. Ironically the best year we had here was the year before the population began its decline

Penny
NY
USDA hardiness zone 6a
Heat zone 4
Sunset zone 39
Penny
Zone 6a
Western NY state
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Joined: August 25th, 2007, 3:30 am

March 24th, 2012, 9:58 pm #8

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Penny,

That's not so odd as it might first appear. After a boom year in reproduction, the ecosystem (from breeding grounds through migratory routes to the wintering grounsd) can be stressed to accommodate all the additional birds. Additional birds fighting over limited resources may leave many of them weaker than usual. There could be a higher-than usual mortality rate over winter for that reason.

Then, with a portion of the population flying across the Gulf of Mexico in the spring, those not in great shape may not be able to make it.

Additionally, there can be coincidental problems that exacerbate things. In 2008, we had two hurricanes back to back in Louisiana, which wiped out most natural food sources across a multi-hundred-mile swath of western Louisiana into east Texas. Birds attempting to cross that area right after the storms that weren't lucky enough to find feeders could easily have "run out of steam" and died along the way, thus bringing about a sharp decline in numbers the following year wherever those birds were from.

Boom and bust cycles are (as you know) part of nature - it's not always pretty, but that's how nature tries to ensure there's enough to sustain the population.


Kevin Morgan
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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I love Hummingbirds
I love Hummingbirds

March 25th, 2012, 1:32 am #9

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
Thanks Kevin for the estimate of new birds that you believe may survive the first year to possibly go on to breed the following year. Sad to think that likely more than half don't make it. I guess about the only population that survives and continues to increase in numbers (in this world) is humans and cockroaches! LOL!

The thought of these brave little birds not making it across the gulf during migration or along another part of their migration route or becoming food for a predator really saddens me. I don't know what it is about hummingbirds, but they sure charm me and have me hoping & praying they remain safe and healthy to return to me year after year!

I am so glad to have them visiting! They are such a cheerful and endearing sight to behold!
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Joined: January 26th, 2008, 10:36 pm

March 25th, 2012, 3:22 pm #10

It was a beautiful spring morning when Joan, Tom, Steve and I initiated our weekly banding sessions in Covington [Louisiana]. Our host had reported her first Ruby-throated in late February, which is early for her location, but she has seen a number of them moving through since then. I decided it was time to break the ice.

Our first catch was a stunning adult male Ruby-throated. The second one was just a handsome and he proved to be a returnee from last July, when he was just a youngster. One more male might have been present, but business got slow after we caught a young female Rufous to close out the winter banding season.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, Louisiana USA
USDA Zone 9
http://www.casacolibri.net/
That was my post just above this one. (I had thought I had logged in...)

I still have at least ... 2 males and 1 female. I am waiting to see when the males leave. Perhaps these are migrant males moving through? There was a fight over a feeder earlier this morning. One male is guarding his feeder and would only let the female drink from it, not the other male. He's been at the feeder all morning! I have feeders set up around my backyard too, but only rarely see a hummer at any of those. (Perhaps I am missing them or my yard work - in the backyard - is keeping them all away from those feeders.) Surprised at all the action this morning! (Of course ... it's the weekend and I'm not working, so I have more time to observe!)

Sure wished I knew a local bander or I was a licensed bander ... would love to know where these birds might be going!
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