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Tallahassee Hummers

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  • Fred Dietrich
    Fred Bassett with the Hummer Bird Study Group was in Tallahassee this weekend looking for wintering hummers. After going 0 for 6 in November, he was able to
    Message 1 of 6 , Dec 11, 2005
      Fred Bassett with the Hummer Bird Study Group was in Tallahassee this weekend looking for wintering hummers. After going 0 for 6 in November, he was able to band five new birds and recapture four others. Two of the return birds were female rufous back for the 3rd year. The other two were return male ruby throateds, which is uncommon. One of those was very newsworthy.

      In October, Fran Rutkovsky noticed a male ruby throated with a pink mark on its head. Banders often put a colored mark on a bird's head so that it can be easily identified by the host. The mark usually stays until the bird molts. When she told Fred Bassett about this bird, he got excited since he had not marked any birds and was anxious to catch if and find out where it had been banded.

      After missing it in November, we finally were able to coax it into a trap today. When he examined the bird, he had two surprises. First, the bird had been banded by him of 12/31/04, at Fran's house, and the mark he applied was still there. Secondly, and extremely rare, was that the bird had still not completed his molt into adult plumage. Its well worn tail feathers still had the white tips of juvenile feathers, and the gorget which should have been complete was only about 70%.

      I have posted some photos of this bird, and its lovely host, at:

      http://www.pbase.com/fdietrich/hummer

      Other birds caught on this trip were:

      An immature male ruby throated in Crawfordville that had been reported to the Wild Birds Unlimited store.

      At the Armstrong's in Indianhead Acres, an adult female rufous and a third year return female rufous, that was not captured last year but had been banded at their home on 12/28/03.

      In Killearn Lakes an immature female rufous

      In Killearn an immature male ruby throated

      On Doomar the other 3rd year return female rufous that had been banded 12/15/03, and recaptured on 11/21/04. This bird had been around since October and refused to go in the trap in November.

      At Fran's, in addition to the return bird, an adult female ruby throated

      Up the street from Fran's at Peter Homann's we caught another second year return adult male ruby throated

      Late this afternoon, after Fred had left for Gainesville, a buff-bellied hummingbird was reported in Killearn. He will be back in town Tuesday to see if he can band the bird. More on that later.

      Fred Dietrich
      Tallahassee, FL


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    • Fred Dietrich
      Fred Bassett was in town today and banded a gorgeous adult male Allen s at the same home that earlier hosted a buff-bellied hummingbird. Jody and Claudia have
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 22, 2006
        Fred Bassett was in town today and banded a gorgeous adult male Allen's at the same home that earlier hosted a buff-bellied hummingbird. Jody and Claudia have a wonderful yard and it is obvious that the hummers love it. Jim Cavanaugh was there to observe and have Fred confirm that this was indeed an Allen's.

        The bird was in completely new breeding plumage and was quite a sight to see. The green back of the bird was a sure sign that this was an Allen's, in addition to several keys found on the tail feathers. The home owners say that visitors are welcome to come up the driveway and observe from the fence gate. There are two feeders that are easily visible from that spot.

        Since the bird has completed its molt, and had put on some fat, it most likely will not be here too long. It just showed up Saturday so it has been somewhere else and should be heading west for breeding season. These birds are found on the west coast in the summer.

        I have posted some photos of the bird, and its hosts, at:

        http://www.pbase.com/fdietrich/mallens

        In addition to the Allen's, Fred banded an adult male ruby throated, the second bird this winter at this home. On his way out of town, he stopped in Killearn Lakes where we had been unable to trap an adult male rufous on Fred's last visit. This time, after some hesitation, the bird went into the trap. The bird was the same one that had been banded in this yard in 2004, back for his third winter.

        Some photos of the ruby throated being banded are at:

        http://www.pbase.com/fdietrich/mrt

        In my yard, my bluebirds have completed their nest and should start laying eggs any day. I also have brown headed nuthatches with two eggs in their nestbox. They usually have 6 or 7 eggs. At work, the bluebirds have already laid two eggs after completing their nest last week. It is early for them, but maybe they know it will be an early spring.

        Fred Dietrich
        Tallahassee, FL


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      • glendajoyce6009
        Evening All, What a thrill it was to observe the Freds in action this morning on their first two banding stops of the day. While I m disappointed my winter
        Message 3 of 6 , Dec 2, 2006
          Evening All,

          What a thrill it was to observe the "Freds" in action this morning on
          their first two banding stops of the day. While I'm disappointed my
          winter hummer split town after a week, it's always exciting to see one
          of these beautiful little jewels in anyone's hands! And to see Ruby-
          throats, Rufous, Buff-bellied and a Calliope all in one morning...Wow!
          Thank you Fred, Fred, Fran, Jody and Claudia.

          And Jody and Claudia...Just what are you putting in those feeders?!!!

          Glenda Simmons
          tallahassee
        • Fred Dietrich
          Fred Bassett with the Hummer/Bird Study Group, was in town as the number of birds has increased following this recent cold weather. Arriving around 10:00 from
          Message 4 of 6 , Dec 10, 2006
            Fred Bassett with the Hummer/Bird Study Group, was in town as the number of birds has increased following this recent cold weather. Arriving around 10:00 from Niceville, his first stop was Fran Rutkovsky's an the three birds that she reported, a second year return male rufous, a female rubythroated and her first black chinned, a hatch year male.

            After Fran's house we went to a home on Raa Avenue and watched a first year male rufous eat bugs for an hour but take no interest in the feeder. We went to Pam Flynn's in Waverly and caught and banded an adult female black chinned and a first year male ruby throated. Next we went to Jody and Claudia's in Killearn, and caught a fat, 4.4 gram, first year male ruby throated in about 30 seconds.

            For those who have expressed interest in seeing the Calliope that was banded there, it has not been seen recently and may have just been passing through while we were there.

            Back to my house on Piedmont Drive and just as we were about to give up on my bird, after an hour and a couple of looks at the trap, she finally went in. It was her fourth year here, I think a Tallahassee record. She was banded in my yard by Fred Bassett on December 16, 2003.

            Back to Raa Avenue and another 45 minutes of watching the bird go to the frost bitten salvia and eat more bugs. This morning we showed up at 6:50am, Dale was sitting out in the garden waiting, and at 7:07 it went in the trap. It was a first year male rufous.

            That was 8 birds in Tallahassee for Fred and 26 so far on this trip. He is off to two places in Georgia where there are 2 birds at each place. He will most likely be back between Christmas and the first of the year.

            Fred Dietrich
            Tallahassee, FL
            fdietrich@...




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          • Fred Dietrich
            Fred Bassett, with the Hummer/Bird Study Group, was in town Friday and early Saturday to check out reports of hummers at 14 homes in Tallahassee. We started
            Message 5 of 6 , Dec 14, 2008
              Fred Bassett, with the Hummer/Bird Study Group, was in town Friday and early Saturday to check out reports of hummers at 14 homes in Tallahassee. We started early Friday morning going to 12 homes and finishing up with two more Saturday morning. We caught 11 birds, two of them previously banded. Among the birds were two female black-chinned, two female rufous, a female calliope, and 6 ruby-throated. In addition we saw a buff-bellied, so 5 species of hummingbirds in a day was quite impressive.

              The two return birds were not caught at the homes where they were originally banded, but at homes less than 1/2 mile away. We also went to a home where the owner had been seeing a hummer that looked "different". A couple of minutes after we set up a buff-bellied hummer appeared and made a couple of passes at the trap then flew off over the house. Two minutes later my phone rang and it was from the lady where we banded a buff-bellied several weeks ago, calling to say that her bird was back after not being see for a couple of days. Checking the map, the two homes are about 4 blocks apart, so most likely this is the same bird.

              The calliope that was banded is also likely the one that we tried several times last year to catch at the same home but refused to enter the trap. This is the second female calliope banded in Tallahassee this year and Fred only banded one calliope all of last year.

              Another interesting thing is that most of the birds that Fred had caught this were return birds. The 9 birds banded here were nearly a third of all the birds he has banded and moved the number of banded birds even with the number of returns. If things go as usual, the number of return birds will decline and the number of new birds will increase over the rest of the winter. It has been very interesting to see the increased number of returns as well as the number of birds that are being found at different homes. It appears that their wintering ground ranges are much wider than previously thought.

              Fred Dietrich
              Tallahassee, FL




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            • Fred Dietrich
              Fred Bassett, a hummingbird bander with the Hummer Bird Study Group, was in town in conjunction with Scott Weidensaul s visit to speak at an Apalachee Audubon
              Message 6 of 6 , Jan 31, 2009
                Fred Bassett, a hummingbird bander with the Hummer Bird Study Group, was in town in conjunction with Scott Weidensaul's visit to speak at an Apalachee Audubon sponsored event. Since Scott is also a hummingbird bander, he went with us to a couple of homes on Thursday and Friday in hopes of getting to band his first buff-bellied hummingbird.

                Prior to his plane's arrival, Fred and I went to a home in Waverly Hills where we caught a very special female rufous. This bird was banded last January at the same home but more importantly, it was recaptured December 15th, in Good Hope, Ga, just east of Atlanta and 240 miles north of here, and made its way here a month later. The hosts in Good Hope had last seen it feeding heavily on December 29th and it was first seen here 2 weeks later. This is a very important piece of data since it supports the theory that these western humming birds that are wintering in the southeast, appear to first take an eastern route then move south as the winter progresses. It is also believed that these birds return to their northwest breeding grounds by taking a western route along the Gulf coast before turning north and returning to their their summer homes.

                Next we went to a home on Everette Lane and caught a ruby-throated with a band on its right leg. Checking his records, Fred found that this bird had been originally banded in December at Andy Wraithmel's home, about 2 miles to the south.

                We picked up Scott at 11 and went to a home off Buck Lake that had been seeing a buff-bellied hummingbird for the past two weeks. On January 12, we caught a ruby-throated at this house, but it had apparently been run off by the new bird. About 10 minutes after setting up the trap, the bird showed up and flew into the trap. Scott was not able to band this bird since it already was wearing a band! Again Fred checked his records and to his surprise found that it was a bird he had banded earlier this winter in Fairhope, Alabama, about 215 miles west of Tallahassee.

                Later in the day we tried unsuccessfully to catch a striking male rufous that came to the trap a number of times but refused to go in.

                Friday morning brought some very good news. When I checked my email, I found a note from Glenda Simmons, a buff-bellied host from earlier this season, saying that Terry Parker had a buff-bellied hummingbird at his home in Killearn Acres. Terry had attended Fred's talk at Native Nurseries on January 10th and decided to buy a feeder and put it up. I also talked to him about a bluebirds and he decided to get a box that I had made and try that too. Two days later he had what appeared to be a ruby-throated hummer at his feeder. We arrived at his home about 8:00 and as we were setting up the trap, the first hummer buzzed up, took a long look and headed off over the fence. About 10 minutes later the buff-belied showed up and eventually worked its way to the trap and went in. This time the bird did not have a band and Scott was finally able to band his first buff-bellied hummingbird. Fred tried again to catch the male rufous, but it came to the trap
                several more times but refused to go in.

                A very good visit by Fred Bassett, and having three same year recaptures of three different species, provides some great data for researchers who are working to determining the migration patterns of these birds that 20 years ago were not thought to be here at all, much less come here on purpose.

                Fred will be back in 2 weeks so watch your feeders and contact him at fhound@... if you have a hummer and would like to have him come and band it.

                Fred Dietrich
                Tallahassee, FL




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