Hello Everyone -

As has been previously noted, an attempt to document and band the E. Arlington bird will take place today. There are two of us in the area who are fully-qualified hummingbird banders (in Eastern NY and Western MA) prepared to document any of these unusual sightings. Qualifying to be a bird bander, and a hummingbird bander on top of that, is a rigorous process and we are required to have state and federal permits for the work we do. We do our utmost, to the point of not attempting to perform the capture, to ensure the safety of the bird. Between the two of us, the gentleman who will visit this bird today and I have documented a fair number of non-breeding hummingbirds in the New England region and we are always grateful for these opportunities to investigate this phenomenon. We both monitor this list as well as others in the region. It is important for us to be able to examine these birds closely, to determine their precise identification, age, sex, and health status so that we may start to learn more about these birds that do not breed in this part of the country. Banding is the only way we currently have to distinguish an individual bird and the privilege of being able to conduct this type of study is not taken lightly. 

I emphasize that a decision to band a bird such as this is entirely up to the homeowner/feeder 'host'. Banding is an inherently safe process when performed by a qualified individual. 

As several listmembers have pointed out, this is good place to put in a reminder about your feeders - you will not cause a hummingbird to delay its migration by leaving up your feeders into the Fall and early Winter. On the contrary, you may provide a necessary 'rest stop' that may make a difference to the survival of these birds. 

I'd be delighted to discuss any of this, and answer any questions either on- or off-list, at the discretion of the moderator.

Happy Thanksgiving, all. 

Anthony Hill
Master Bird Bander
Certified Trainer, Hummingbirds and Passerines
Chair, Bander Certification Committee
North American Banding Council
S. Hadley, MA

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