Tracking Hummingbirds


hummingbird in winter

Hummingbird in winter

About three months ago, I decided to take part in a survey that tracks global hummingbird migration. The tricky part was recording the date two weeks after the last siting. The collected data helps researchers around the world better understand and protect hummingbirds. I’m all for that.

Guess what?

The hummers never left.  In late fall we had an early and unusual frost lasting five days.  The birds remained.  Trees dropped leaves and still the birds remained.  I worried that they were cold.

Then a few weeks ago I noticed our cat Lindy with her eyes glued to the sliding glass door.  She had an eye-level show of a hummingbird splashing around in the frigid fountain outside.  Stunned, I remained with her, eyes transfixed, until the little bather flew away.  I missed the photo-op, but enjoyed the show. I had a good laugh at myself for worrying that they were too cold.

In late March, Mike and I plan to attend a workshop on Hummingbirds through the Los Gatos Birdwatcher.  It’s a two-hour class, with a two-hour field trip the following weekend.  I can’t wait.  It will be fun to learn more about the birds specific to our area.  I’m looking forward to the class and to sharing what I learn with you.

You can read about hummingbird migration at World of Hummingbirds.
The Los Gatos Birdwatcher is one of my favorite shops.  They also offer workshops and services.

On a sadder note, I planned to link to the Phoebe Allen webcam in Southern California. Phoebe’s been nesting in a rose-bush several times a year since 2007. Last winter, several of us had our eyes glued to the nest as she went about the business of raising chicks.  It was incredible. Phoebe laid a brood in late December, but disappeared on January 8th. A bird rehabilitater is raising the chicks till they fledge.

12 thoughts on “Tracking Hummingbirds

  1. Oh dear, that is sad for Phoebe, sorry to hear that. She was such a good mum I can’t imagine she would head south after laying eggs. Nature is to harsh for me at times.

    I’m so glad Mike will go along on your course, what a fun day together. It would seem that the dawdlers would have been very cold over that chilly period, but a swim in the fountain makes you wonder. I guess their natural proclivity to leave has been wobbled somehow. Very interesting. Do you know where they normally go? Maybe it was even colder there and somehow they sensed it. That is a great photo too. Nice little bonding moment you shared with Lindy-Lou and thank goodness she was on the other side of the glass to your drop-in bather. I wonder if that’s what happened to Phoebe? Awwwww.

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    • I know. Phoebe’s news made me sad. She nested in the rose bush for years (since 2007 I think).

      I’ve read conflicting data on their migration habits, so I’m hoping to get a good, local perspective in the class in March. I have lots to learn.

      Yes, glad Lindy was indoors. That would have been a heart-breaker.

      I’ll let you know what I learn.

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    • I hope you’ll see one in real time one day. They’re remarkable little creatures.

      That said, I’ll be you’ve seen many beautiful birds that I’ve never seen. They’re an eclectic bunch, unique to different parts of the world.

      I’m so glad to see you writing again.

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  2. I wonder if, just as we humans are discombobulated by these weather pattern changes, so are other living species…………. You may be helping track changes that are more wide ranging than we suspect at the moment. It’s a wonderful thing to do and, like Boomdee, I think it’s a wonderful activity to share with your husband.

    I am pleased to report that summer appears to have arrived – two months late, but better late than never :-)

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    • That’s an interesting perspective, Pauline. It must be disorienting to them. That would be a good thing for me to research for a future post.

      Mike loves the hummingbirds, and is usually the one who cleans and fills the feeders. Between us, they are never empty. It will be fun to take a class together to learn more.

      I am *so* happy to hear that summer finally arrived. Fingers crossed here for rain this week.

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  3. I find hummingbirds fascinating. We had one find its way into our garage a few years back. Apparently, they are attracted to the red pull cords on automatic garage door openers. We had quite a time trying to help him escape. He did finally find his way out though!

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  4. A recent news article said that the increased light pollution was also playing havoc with migrating animals, especially birds. It would be interesting to know whether your little ones were just a blip, or part of a bigger pattern. The workshop sounds interesting.

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    • Anne, I hadn’t heard that. That’s fascinating, and makes a lot of sense. I’m saddened by the intrusion we’ve made into the natural world. I hope we’re not too late to turn the tide.

      Thanks, Anne.

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  5. I went to the link you shared … how sad! After all the years of tracking her, and the emotional investment (let alone the scientific / journaling investment), to realize Phoebe had disappeared.
    I read a book one time, a novel written from the perspective of a family of birds … very interesting and illuminating seeing things through the “bird’s eye”.

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    • I thought the same thing. I’m sure they feel as though they’ve lost a family member. I was sure let down. I had the live cam on my computer for weeks last year, and would race in whenever I heard the sound of hovering wings. Nature is remarkable.

      What an interesting book. I’ve not heard of that one. Have your read Racing in the Rain, told from a dog’s perspective? I loved that book…and really believed he was telling the tale.

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