Having hosted two (2) rare hummers in my yard (Allen's and Broad-billed), I can attest that capturing and banding presents all kinds of dilemmas.  In each of the cases I was involved, the birds made it their top priority to get the heck out of there!  

The technique of the Master hummingbird bander of the Allen's was downright painful.  She didn't want to quickly pluck a tail feather because she thought it would 'hurt' the bird, so she instead decided to sloooowly pull until it gave way.  The poor bird squeaked pitifully and struggled under this torture - that image still bothers me to this day and I'd never allow that person to touch another hummer if I could help it.  The banding occured near dusk one evening, and the bird returned the next morning before dawn, guzzled for several minutes, then left for good.

Although the Broad-billed fared much better under the expert care of the late Troy Gordon, the outcome was the same - the freshly banded bird dined and dashed.  As Edge mused, the exercise is obviously unpleasant to the bird and enough to cause them to flee the scene.

I'm satisfied there's plenty of scientific reason for the banding of the Broad-tailed, and any bird for that matter, and the goal was not identification - that was accurately accomplished in the field.  I do question the timing . . . it would have been nice to wait until the weekend warriors had an opportunity to see the bird.  Given the balance of viewing opportunities for interested birders vs. the scientific value of banding, I'd give the nod to the viewers because it presents an educational opportunity right then and there.  The scientific value is a crap-shoot that may rely more on the low probability of a future banding recovery.  I'd take the bird in the bush over the bird in the hand every time, under those circumstances!

Same goes for scientific collecting.  Give people adequate opportunity to see and learn before taking the educational process to another level.  

Chris Hobbs
Shawnee, KS
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----- Original Message -----
From: Edge <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Monday, June 16, 2008 9:34 am
Subject: Re: B-T h'bird banded

> Would you come back to a feeder after being handled like this and 
> a  
> leg iron put on you?
> I sincerely question the scientific value of this banding episode. 
> The species was already solidly determined.  This out-of-range 
> bird's  
> subsequent (highly unlikely) band recovery would tell us nothing.
> To me, this banding falls in that category of "just because you 
> can  
> doesn't mean you should."
> Yup, sour grapes certainly a factor in my post, but if someone can 
> give a reasonable explanation as to why this bird had to be banded 
> and why it had to be Saturday evening, not Monday or Tuesday, I'm  
> willing to hear it.
> Edge Wade
> Columbia, MO
> [log in to unmask]
> On Jun 14, 2008, at 10:10 PM, Charlene and Jim Malone wrote:
> > Lanny Chambers banded the Broad-Tailed Hummingbird this evening. 
> Up  
> > close and personal photo.
> >
> >
> > Hope it sticks around. :-)
> >
> > OK.........posted enough.
> >
> > Nitie-nite.
> > Charlene Malone
> > St. L.......yada, yada
> >
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