Have you been seeing lots of hummingbirds lately? This time of year the numbers usually swell due to the fact that local birds have fledged their young, and migrants are starting to come through on their way south. The Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (TNWR) will celebrate all these tiny friends with a hummingbird banding event on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A free hummingbird banding demonstration will be held at the TNWR Refuge Visitor Center located at 1371 Wildlife Drive in Springville. Federally Licensed Master Bander Cynthia Routledge, of Southeast Avian Research in Clarksville, will return to lead the banding demonstrations. Routledge will present a program on hummingbirds at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and banding will take place on the center’s back patio as birds are available.
Using specially designed tools, Routledge will band each captured hummingbird with a band that has a number that will be unique to that individual bird, much like a “bird social security number.” She will take a series of measurements to determine the age and sex of the hummingbird, and then the bird will be released.
These measurements will be carefully recorded and all the information will be turned in to the Bird Banding Laboratory in Laurel, Md., the central database for all North American bird banding information. Researchers have gained valuable insight and information about the lives and habits of hummingbirds through banding such as migration routes, longevity, nesting habits, population trends, the effects of habitat loss, and a warming world.
This event is very “family friendly” and can be fun for the whole family. Kids may be “captured and banded” as a demonstration of this survey process, to explain how banding works. In addition, the refuge will have a large obstacle course called “Bird Hurdles” for children to experience what birds go through during migration. Additional arts and crafts and other activities for children will occur throughout the event.
During lunchtime, the Friends of TNWR will be have meals and drinks available for sale on the back patio. All proceeds will benefit hosting future environmental education programs for the public.
As always, entrance to any event or to the TNWR Visitor Center is free to the public. For more information about this or other refuge programs, call 731-642-2091.