Photography: As Shot – Colorful Tom Turkey

NOTE – “As Shot” photographs are some that I have posted on Instagram, but without any unwarranted imposed crops, less detail reduction and more of an explanation.

On the road near Hereford, Arizona with storm clouds closing in

Tom shows his colors when is around the hens – Happy Thanksgiving – 2017!

On a hiking trip to Brown Canyon in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, southern Arizona, we were treated to a display by this Tom Turkey who was parading around in front of two hens.



File Name: turkey_tom_0597.CR2
Capture time: 2:26:46 PM
Capture date: April 12, 2014
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 25.065mm
ISO: 100
Camera: Canon PowerShot SX50 HS
Lens: 4.3-215mm
Edited in Lightroom


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©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2017 –

Hummingbird Banding and Study – SABO

During a recent weekend, my wife and I took four days to visit Sierra Vista and the surrounding area to do some hiking and birding. We enjoyed hiking in the Coronado National Memorial and nearby Brown Canyon. This area is a hotspot for bird watchers. Our Bed and Breakfast, Casa de San Pedro (CDSP), caters to nature enthusiasts and birding hobbyists.

Little did we know when we made our reservations, that on one of the days we would be visiting CDSP, there would be a hummingbird banding. This was exciting news indeed! I had no idea how they would go about capturing, assessing, banding and releasing these very tiny creatures. I was very interested to witness the process.

Humming Bird Evaluation and Banding

(photos are below the narrative)

The first step is setting up the capture feeder is for one of the volunteers to place a capture net over the feeder.

SABO volunteer setting up capture net

The top of the feeder has a battery-operated mechanism which uses remote control to drop the net. When the bird is at the feeder, i.e. inside the net area, the net is triggered. (yellow arrow points to battery compartment)

View of capture net and battery holder

The remote control device stands at the ready.

Remote control is ready to be triggered

The Director of this program is Sheri Williamson, author of A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America (Peterson Field Guides)

Sheri Willaimson's name badge

Sheri Williamson explaining the process

The banding was a collaborative effort. Volunteers worked to record specific data about each bird, collect donations from attendees, assist in transporting captured birds from the feeder area to the work station and finally safely releasing each bird.

Work table with SABO volunteers

Once the net is dropped around the feeder, the bird is placed inside a laundry delicates holder to safely move it from one area of the field to another.

Captured bird in delicates bag

Sheri works to band a female Black-chinned Hummingbird. The yellow arrow points to the thin bird bill.

Assessing the bird

A variety of measurements were taken including the length of the bill, the length of the bird, the length of the wing, etc.

Measuring the bird

More measurements and assessment.

More measurements

Here is a look at the record book (rotated to make it more legible (if zoomed in for a look).

Recording the data

Sheri explains the examination process. …According to SOBA’s website:

The band is applied to the bird’s “leg” (actually the tarsus, equivalent to the long bones in our feet) using specially made pliers. The fit is checked, then the bird’s vital statistics are recorded: species, age, sex, lengths of wing, tail, and bill, weight, plumage condition, molt (loss and replacement of feathers), amount of visible fat, pollen color (if visible) and location, signs of impending or recent egg laying in adult females, and any peculiarities such as scars, odd-colored feathers, or presence of parasites. Pollen may be collected for later identification to help us understand what natural resources the birds depend on during migration and nesting.

Explaining the procedure

A straw is used to separate the feathers to check for parasites, evaluate plumage, etc.

Blowing through a straw to look under the feathers

The female Black-chinned Hummingbird had an egg which could be seen through the translucent skin although it is not readily visible in the picture.

Female's underside had an egg visible

Each captured bird is weighed. These hummingbirds weighed between 3 – 3.5 grams; a fraction of an ounce. According to Wikipedia, a penny weighs 2.5 grams.

Weighing the bird

Before release, each bird is offered a drink for their journey back home.

Bird is offered a drink before release

The second bird trapped was a male Black-chinned hummer. While it may be difficult to tell them apart, especially when upside down, the white tipped tail feathers are a reliable indicator.

Male Black-chinned hummingbird

From above the bird, the feathers create a very obvious pattern and enhances the male plumage.

Male Black-chinned hummingbird feather pattern

Sheri Williamson shows admiring onlookers the beautiful feather patterns of this male Black-chinned hummingbird.

Another view of the male Black-chinned hummingbird tail feather pattern

Sheri checks the band on this bird to assure that it is loose enough to be comfortable.

Checking the ID band for fit

The small band is encircled in this photo.

ID Band is very small

Banding attendees are offered an opportunity to release a bird. The bird is very carefully placed in a hand and…

A bird in the hand prior to release

then released (yellow arrow points to the bird)

Hummingbird being released

Read More:

Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory

Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory Hummingbird banding page

Sheri L. Williamson’s Website originally published this post