Hummingbirds make return visits to county

Published 5:27 am Wednesday, January 4, 2006

By Staff
Staff report
If you are not a birdwatcher, you may not realize there are quite a few here in this area who have taken up the hobby , keeping their eyes open for new species or just watching to see if a bird returns to a certain place.
That watching has paid off for several area residents in the past few months. Pat McArthur in East Brewton and Vivian Jackson of the Roberts community have both had hummingbirds tagged and banded at their homes.
According to one birdwatcher, the most common hummingbird in this area is the Ruby Red Throated, and they were plentiful after the storms this summer. Their normal flower blossoms were stripped from the bushes and in order to feed, they needed the kindness of those who put up bird feeders.
Usually by late November the birds have flown to milder climates, but recently they have been showing up in the southeastern states with greater frequency. They are more plentiful also, which may be due to more backyard feeders or just faster reproduction. Several hummingbirds that have been found and banded in this area are not the normal Red Throated type but some a little bit unusual. What is especially surprising is the birds return every year, not only to the same area, but also, to the same backyards.
Fred Bassett of Montgomery catches the tiny birds and bands them so their flight patterns can be known.
On Nov. 26, Bassett caught a banded adult male Black-chinned hummingbird at Vivian Jackson's house in the Roberts community. He said he was surprised to find that the bird was one that he had banded last January in Albany, Ga. It has a grey body with a beautiful purple band on his neck
On Nov. 30, Bassett was once more in this area to bring a trainer trap to Pat McArthur in East Brewton. He had been trying to catch this elusive bird for the last four years, but the bird wouldn't go into the trap. A trainer was being used in the hope of luring him into the trap where he could be banded. Bassett returned on Dec. 2 to replace the trainer with a trap. He was rewarded for his efforts by catching the little fellow right away. McArthur has had the Buff-bellied visit her for the past five years. He is emerald green with some black and brown touches.

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