Ruby-throated Hummingbird: Lewis and Clark Historical Center, Hartford, Illinois, and Alton, 270713

Ruth was kind enough to take me to the Lewis and Clark Historical Center, Hartford, Illinois, venue of the Hummingbird Festival. We were going to watch the

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS

being caught, banded and released…

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Missouri has only one Hummer the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Click on the bird’s name, above, to go to the Wiki entry about this tiny bird.

We went to the Historical Center:

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Ruth going towards the registration desk:

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Everyone gathers. The banding is done by

Vernon Kleen

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Here are the feeder-cages in which the Hummers are caught:

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The Hummingbirds enter the open cage for the food, and the door falls shut.

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One Hummer (the first one I saw was a female, the second, a male) is being taken out of the trap:

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Banding video 1

Here’s a female Hummer, in safe hands:

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You can see her tongue outside her beak:

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Here are the bands that will be slipped on to the Hummingbirds’ feet:

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Here are bands that have not yet been made into rings:

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they are, apparently, made of aluminium.

Other equipment is being unpacked:

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This pink bag contains a Hummer!

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I loved the tee that the “bander” was wearing:

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The Hummer is held delicately, yet firmly, as the banding is done:

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You can see the green and the red here:

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The bird is also measured:

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I couldn’t get the whole process very clearly as it was all done between the dexterous fingers:

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But how delicately and expertly it is done!

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This one is now all done…

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What a beauty the male Hummingbird is; it’s so clear to see why it’s called Ruby-throated!

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The Hummingbird is brought to be released:

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The tiny bird lay inert for a while on the palm, rather mesmerized and not knowing that it was now free to go…and then..off it went!

We went off to see the historical site, thinking that we were done with the Hummers, and then went to Alton, to attend the Towboat Festival. But here, at a feeder in front of a beautiful little home, several female Hummers delighted me, once again, zipping through the nearby trees, and then coming to the feeder:

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There was even a Hummingbird lantern in the garden:

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We saw a lot of other birds, watched towboats and wooden boats, saw a bit of how America was in the past, but the Hummingbirds crowned our day. Such tiny, zipping scraps of utter beauty and delight!

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Update…I got this email today:

On Sun, Jul 28, 2013 at 8:07 PM, Jack or Ginger McCall wrote:
Deepa,
The hummingbird bander at the Festival in Hartford IL yesterday was Vernon Kleen, email address: vkleen@comcast.net . He is from Springfield and has been banding birds for years.He is a retired biologist with the Illinois Dept of Natural Resources. The person that did the most work for setting up the festival was Irma Holmes, email address meows@madisontelco.com
She is with the Great Rivers Chapter of the Illinois Audubon Society (IAS). The IAS promotes festivals all around the state during late July and into August. Aren’t they wonderful events?

Sincerely,
Ginger McCall, President, Great Rivers Chapter IAS

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