Facts About Hummingbird Tracking and Banding 

Banding songbirds and raptors is common, but hummingbird tracking is rare. Hummingbird banding is very specialised.  

Learn how it works, what makes it distinctive, and about the people that investigate and track these small jewels.  

Hummingbird banding began after songbird banding, thus researchers know little about the tiny flyers. US-operated North American Bird Banding Programme.  

Most of what we know about hummingbird migration comes from tracking and banding. Amazing things have been learned from scientists' data.   

Every year, ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate the same way. They arrive at and leave stopover spots within a few days on virtually the same date each year.  

Caged or curtained hummingbird feeders are monitored, and when a bird visits, a switch lowers the netts or cages.  

Hummingbirds are captured better with this than with big mist netts used in songbird banding.  

Hummingbird leg bands are so little they fit around a toothpick or safety pin. They average 1.27-1.52 mm in diameter and 1.6 mm broad.  

Each band has a letter prefix and four-digit number. The letter symbolises a five-digit number too large for the little band.  

If a rare hummingbird is visiting your backyard or sticking for the winter, banders may be interested.  

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