Paradise, Chiricahuas - Bander: Rebecca Hamilton
Weather - sunny, very warm, no wind, no clouds
Temp at 0600 68°F at 1100 94°F
The morning started off briskly with a female Broad-tailed followed by 3 recaps inclusing a male Magnificent from our first session at Paradise. Just as I was beginning to think we had banded all the birds last time, three new Mags came in. The Blue-throateds evaded all efforts at capture. The two females and one male seemed very wary of the traps; they hovered nearby but never actually came in to investigate. Jackie showed some of us a Blue-throated nest she had discovered with 2 eggs, but was now sadly empty.
Banding was steady all morning with bander and recorder never having down time to raise binoculars. Jackie Lewis, our hostess was my able recorder, prompting me to measure the white on R3 for the female Black-chinneds. Pat Owens fed and released. Willis Owens and Bill Kammann manned the traps. Sherry Adams, summer resident of Paradise, came “to watch” but was soon persuaded to help feed and release. Thank you all!
Paradise, Chiricahuas, bander: Susan Wethington and Lee Rogers
Weather: 59F at 0530 and 86F at 1030.
Traps opened at 0533 and closed at 1033.
Where did all the birds come from??? There are an incredible number of hummingbirds here. It's a surprise to Jackie, the site owner because the amount of sugar water being consumed is not as much as previous weeks. At the banding table, we are extremely busy, always a number of birds waiting. Lee is managing the traps. He estimates over 1600 visits while trapping is stopped due to banding time constraints. He preferentially traps the rarer species, Blue-throated and Broad-tailed, and also trapped Magnificents over Black-chinned. The Black-chinned is the most common bird at the site, followed by MAHU. For both of these common species, there's many more males than females (maybe a 4 to 1 ratio for both BCHU and MAHU). However, the sex ratio is close to 1-1 ratio for the banded birds. This preferential trapping is OK if the trap sheet of birds missed also identifies the sex and species of the birds. Today, the most challenging birds to trap were the Blue-throated hummingbirds.
Additionally, we had two foreign recaptures, both bands began with T97xxxx. One bird was a female BCHU and the other bird a male MAHU. Dr. Don Powers, a hummingbird physiologist and professor at George Fox University in Oregon, has worked at the South West Research Station which is approximately 3 miles south of Paradise. In a response to my e-mail, he thinks the bands are his but he has not banded at SWRS for a couple of years. Later this week he'll let me know the specifics.
I talked with Jackie a couple of days after banding. She says she is refilling the feeders less often than before. It'' not clear why on the one day that we band, there's an incredible in flux of birds. My hypothesis is that we were lucky to band when a migration peak occurred. In the previous days before banding, the weather had been hotter than normal. Our banding day was the first day where the night had cooled off and the morning was not as hot as the previous mornings. If the weather affects the timing of movement patterns of birds, this might have affected the number of birds that we saw here. Our thanks to Lisa Allen for her help and to Jackie Lewis for her help and her generous hospitality.
June 15 - 18
Paradise, Chiricahuas, bander: Rebecca Hamilton
Weather: 24.8° C at 0600 and 32.6°C at 1100. Clear skies, sunny and hot, no breeze.
After Susan and Lee's last banding experience at Paradise I was prepared- 200+ bands and a full team of volunteers. The closure of the Coronado National Forest meant a 96-mile detour from Rock Creek around Wilcox into New Mexico to Portal to Paradise. As camping was not a possibility, we all stayed at the George Walker House. The comfortable atmosphere inspired lots of thought provoking conversation, which kept us going until well after 10 pm. Dawn came very quickly!
The birds were steady in number all morning but it was not a mini-migration. 64 birds were captured; 48 were banded with 8 recaps from the morning's banding. Three of those recaps visited us one more time. Five birds were recaps from previous sessions. As the forest is very dry, it didn't surprise us that no birds had pollen. Thanks to intrepid trap keepers Bill Kammann and Fred Allen, only 4 Black-chinned and 2 Magnificent escaped. 96 Black-chinned, 37 Magnificent, 13 Broad-tailed visited but were not captured. We saw only one Blue-throat all morning, except for the female sitting on the nest which Jackie had found the week before. We missed Jackie who was visiting her home in California. Thanks to Bill Kammann, Fred Allen from California, Judy Davis from Sierra Vista, Lisa Allen from Portal and Pat Heinz from Tucson.