Nancy - Some very good data from your end over the years. Every little bit adds up to shed some light on hummer habits. We need more dedicated banders like you. It is disappointing to me that there isn't a bander here in central Florida. We don't have nearly as many birds as you do in Louisiana, but there are some interesting sightings at different times and places during the year. Who knows ... maybe there are a lot more hummers here than we know because we don't have year round banders to prove otherwise. Ruby-throated hummers are sighted here in the summer by many. So who knows what's going on ...
I am sorry to hear that some banders don't double-check or have others re-read the band numbers to make sure the correct numbers are recorded. That can really throw a wrench into other banders hard work. That should just be common sense to verify all bands on recaptured birds. I'd probably photograph the birds and take a close-up shot of the band number for verification. But that's just me. I think having a good, reliable team of people is the key to a successful and accurate data recording of a banding trip. I don't know how long it takes to put together a good team of people, but that should be a priority, IMHO.
I've often wondered how observant hummingbirds are when they are flying around. Are they so intent upon feeding or guarding their territory that they aren't paying attention to the dangers around them? Several years ago, I video-taped a hummer coming to one of my feeders. There was a frog sitting in the ant moat. The hummer saw it immediately and darted away from the frog. But it's hunger still brought the bird to the feeder anyway. The bird was smart enough to get some sugar water from the other side of the feeder. But a large enough frog could have caught her from anywhere at the feeder. Luckily, the frog was small. I know hummers are really curious, too. Their curiosity is like that of a cat, apparently. (Curiosity killed the cat ... a well-known quote that I'm sure everyone knows.) I guess life is fast and short for many of them.
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