Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Linda and I resumed our weekly Ruby-throated hummingbird banding sessions on July 8th. We had stopped banding during the month of June because numbers were so low this year, much below normal, and they always plummet while the Mimosa trees are in bloom. We caught 9 hummingbirds and only a couple were returnees (that had been banded in previous years). Most of the ones that we banded were immature birds that hatched this year. Numbers have been down ever since Katrina and the post Katrina debris removal fiasco which damaged the breeding habitat here.

The hummingbird garden is full of flowers and looks beautiful. We're waiting for the annual "gathering of the males" that usually occurs around July 4th, but we have yet to see many adult males or much of an increase in numbers. Something is definitely wrong. We wonder if, in addition to the habitat destruction, that all of the pesticides that are being sprayed to kill mosquitoes because of the West Nile disease are killing the the small flying insects that provide the hummingbirds with needed protein during the breeding season.

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