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Hummingbird Banding Underway in Utah


Hummingbird researchers in St. George are gathering data as the birds are beginning their seasonal migration.

Ned Batchelder is visiting about 15 volunteers' yards, trapping and putting tiny leg bands on hummingbirds. He says this project will help track hummingbird migration patterns.

"For the month of August you've got this mass of birds migrating down the Rocky Mt corridor. There's about a 15-day window where we can set up and band 50 - 100 birds easily in one day."

The black-chinned hummingbird is the most common in Utah along with the broad-tailed hummingbird, found only at higher elevations in the Wasatch. The biggest variety can be found in southwest Utah where the calliope and rufous also buzz through on their way to and from Mexico.

Fred Basset found the non-profit group Hummingbird Research. He invites people to watch the banding up close and even let them hold the birds.

"It weighs 3.1 grams. At that weight you could stuff 9 of those in an envelope and mail them for a first class stamp."

The leg band numbers and bird measurements are reported to the National Bird Laboratory. Sometimes a bird is caught that has already been banded, included a bird in St. George that was banded on May 28 of this year and was just spotted in Idaho last week.