Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Hummingbirds and Trout

On the weekends, I volunteer with the Hummingbird Project of BC, banding hummingbirds and collecting data. "The Hummingbird Project of BC is a project initiated by the Rocky Point Bird Observatory. It is dedicated to the research and conservation of hummingbird populations and their habitats throughout BC." It has been so much fun getting involved with this project and so fascinating to see and hold these tiny little birds.
To capture the hummingbirds, we use a net over a feeder. 
 Birds come in for a drink and we drop the net down around them. Next we have to actually catch them inside the net! I got to do this for the first time last weekend and it was amazing to hold that tiny, light body in my hand.
 We gently wrap them in a "straight jacket" and check their legs to see if they have any bands on them. We also check the health of their legs. We measure the size of their legs and apply the band. You can imagine how difficult it must be to put such a tiny band on such a tiny leg!
 Next we take measurements and make observations. Do they have any pollen on their head/bill/throat? Does their bill have striations (indicating that it is a juvenile bird)? We measure the culmen (bill) length, and the wing length.
We use a straw (such a high-tech tool!) to gently blow the feathers apart so we can check the fat deposits on the bird. If it is a female, we also check to see if she has recently laid an egg or has one ready to be laid. We look for any parasites under the feathers and for new pin feathers growing. We count the number of chin feathers on the females.

 The last step is to weigh the hummingbird. The hummingbirds remain motionless while they are on their backs, but if you tap them, they will fly away. Sometime, we don't get any data on the weight :)

 Look at this beautiful Rufous male. It is amazing to get so close to such a tiny and fast animal.
 This male we captured already had a band from a previous year!
 Pretty fun "work" to be involved with!

 And I had to share another meal we had that was almost completely provided by our yard (and the lake!). On Father's day, I caught a nice little rainbow trout and fried him up for dinner the next night with our homegrown onions and dill. I also sauteed our homegrown zucchini and beets, and made a salad from all of our salad greens and broccoli. With some homemade ranch dressing made with our homegrown herbs, of course!
 And some sparkling rhubarb juice too.
It was well enjoyed by all!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...