Grizzly at Mary Bay Yellowstone Lake

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hummer Festival – Rockport, TX

Dianna and I have said for years that we will go to the Hummingbird Festival. This last weekend worked out perfectly for our schedule. Little did we know it was the same weekend hurricane Karl had an extended visit on the part of the coast.

We arrived on Friday in the rain and left on Monday in the rain. We will be shopping for rain gear that will be a permanent part of the RV. The good news is that we had no leaks in the RV.

A major priority for us at the festival was to get on a tour that had a banding sight. Saturday morning we went to the Festival center to make a reservation for a tour. With as much rain that was coming down that day we opted for a Sunday tour thinking the rains will have moved on by then.

After signing up for a Sunday tour we went to the vendor area to see what we couldn’t live without. One of the first sites we came across was the Raptor display. They are always fascinating to see these wild birds up close.

Click photos to enlarge.Barn Owl Crested Caracara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like the Barn Owl has been through many of these shows. The Crested Caracara and handler must have just had a serious conversation. If I have the name wrong for these birds I’m sure Judy the Bird Lady of Blogland from Travels with Emma will set me straight.

We saw a lot of humming bird jewelry, pictures, t-shirts and other hummer paraphernalia with the vendors. Of course we bought something, a cup for Dianna to use at work. Yes it has a hummer decoration on it.

My plan for no rain on Sunday went by the wayside as it poured all day. One of our priorities was to see the humming bird banding.

Banding A Hummer

Our tours first stop was the banding station for the day. As the bander gets ready to band the little bird his wife on his immediate left writes down all the data that will be used to identify this hummer. As you can see with all the umbrellas, towels and wet shirts it was a wet day.

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All the trapped birds were individually placed in these yellow mesh/net bags so as not to cause them any harm.

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Next we get some history and education about these birds. I think this is the point the bander asked the group for a guess as to how much a hummer weighs. I had no idea and was not going to stick my foot in mouth as this seemed to be a loaded question. One person did respond with a 2 ounce weight.

Getting Weighed

Onto the scale he goes. This guy came in at 4 grams. Now we all had to do some calculation if we just knew what numbers to use. The bander came to our rescue and said there is 28 grams in one ounce. All the birds they had been banding over the weekend were weighing 3.5 to 4.5 grams. Plenty of fat build up to make the flight south.

Getting Banded

Then the little hummer gets an identity. As you can see much care is taken on placing the band on the hummers leg. This must be one of the reasons the bander wears his magnifying glasses.

Uncontested meal

After being held for banding for a while the hummer needs some nourishment. We were told that this feeding will probably be the only uncontested meal the bird will get in his whole life. He was allowed to drink as much as he wanted without another hummer chasing him away from a feeder.

Lots of Hummers in this yard

At one of the homes on the tour we did get out in the rain to see the hummers feeding. The rain doesn’t deter these birds any at all. I wish I could get half the number of birds in my yard as they have here.

Another item we learned is that humming birds don’t have scouts. Each individual migrates on it’s own. There little brain is hard wired to migrate when it’s time. There is a theory that it is the amount of light in a day that triggers each bird to head north or south.

They are not a social bird they hate each other. That’s why you see them chasing each other away from the feeders. Their life span is believed to be 3 years. For us that is a short amount of time for the humming bird it’s life time.

Rising water

This photo was taken on Sunday afternoon. It was about 35 feet from the front of our RV. The water rose another 4-6 inches before the rain let up. The canal to the left of the fence and pole was to carry water out to the bay. Because of the rising tide and large amount of rain the water was backing onto shore.

We learned a lot about the humming bird this year. Hopefully we will be able to go back and learn even more. Thanks for stopping by.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the shout out in your post! As you may know, I am on a quest for the quintessential hummingbird picture. I doubt that quest will ever end. :)

    What a bummer that there was so much rain for the festival. :(

    ReplyDelete