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RE: [nflbirds] Hummingbird Recaptured in Alaska

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  • Cavanagh, Jim
    Awesome! From: nflbirds@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nflbirds@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Fred Dietrich Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 10:13 PM To: nfl birds
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 30, 2010
      Awesome!



      From: nflbirds@yahoogroups.com [mailto:nflbirds@yahoogroups.com] On
      Behalf Of Fred Dietrich
      Sent: Monday, June 28, 2010 10:13 PM
      To: nfl birds
      Subject: [nflbirds] Hummingbird Recaptured in Alaska





      I just got some wonderful news this afternoon. A female rufous
      hummingbird that I banded on January 13, 2010 at Pam Flynn's house in
      Tallahassee was recaptured today in Chenega Bay, Alaska, nearly 4,000
      miles away. When I examined the bird I checked its bill and found that
      about 50% of it contained striations, indicating that this bird was born
      last summer. Instead of migrating south to Mexico like most rufous, it
      came east and spent the winter here. This recapture is by far the
      greatest distance between banding site and breeding grounds. One of the
      previous long distances was a bird recaptured here after being banded in
      west Texas, about 980 miles. That one really pales compared to this
      bird. I'm not sure what the previous record was but I think this may be
      1,200 miles longer. One reason is that there are few banders in Alaska
      to band and recapture birds in the NW end of their territory.

      I have posted some photos of this bird that I took when I banded it, at
      http://upload.pbase.com/edit_gallery/fdietrich/alaska. The last page is
      a record of the data that I collected and reported to the Bird Banding
      Laboratory in Maryland, the repository of all data that is collected
      through bird banding.

      While it has long been believed that the birds that winter in the SE
      states may have come from as far away as Alaska, this is the first time
      that we have been able to document it on both ends of the migration
      route.

      Without banding hummingbirds, we would have no idea of their migration
      habits. Obviously there was no harm done to this bird during banding and
      carrying the band didn't affect its ability to fly. The weight of the
      band is less than .02% of its body weight, many times more than the
      relative weight of a person wearing a wrist watch, and since the bird
      tucks its legs up into its body feathers when it flies, there is no
      increased aerodynamic drag caused by the band.

      I will be banding at a few homes this summer but our main research
      project continues to be banding wintering hummers, those that are here
      between November 15th and March 1st. Keep your feeders out and I'll be
      waiting to hear from you this winter, and especially to see if this long
      range migrant returns to Pam's house.
      Fred Dietrich
      Tallahassee, FL
      850 591-7430

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