Photos by Russ Wigh

Photos by Russ Wigh

Winter Hummingbird Survey 2017-2018

Please I need your help…

Hi, my name is Russ Wigh.   I did a wintering hummingbird survey last year, ably assisted by Mary Landers and the Savannah Morning News. This year I would like to repeat the survey with some structure and rigor thrown in.

So why am I doing this? Researchers at Cornell and elsewhere have yet to take into account the regular movement of wintering hummingbirds along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina and I would like to change that.

If you would like to participate in this survey and live along the coast of either Georgia or South Carolina, please contact me to be added to my email list.

The actual survey will run November 15, 2017  through end of March 2018.

From your perspective as a participant this is pretty simple;  we’ll start the survey reporting on December 1.   So, please report any hummingbird observations you have made from November 15 through the end of the month.  You are welcome to report arriving birds the day you see them, any time within the month, or you can report January 1, and so on. Please try to recall the first date you see a hummingbird. I will send out an email reminder each month to survey participants. Thereafter, you need tell me what you have had by the first day of the month.  The survey will end with the April 2018 report.

Species identification is important of course, so I am including information for making a comparison between four different species we might expect. On the other hand, if a bird shows up at your feeder which does not meet these criteria, let me know, and we will try to get someone out to photograph it.

A word about feeding:
Use plain water boiled until the cane sugar is dissolved (four parts water to one part sugar). This is all you need, not the red stuff sold in stores. Store extra sugar water in your refrigerator. Change the feeder at least every week during the winter to keep it fresh.

Finally, if you take the time to follow these steps to sign up for eBird, an online reporting program
hosted by Audubon and Cornell, you will be doing researchers, and me, a big favor.

Thank you, in advance, for your willingness to participate.

Russ Wigh


Field Marks for Ruby-throat and Black-chinned Hummingbirds

Here is a field mark I neglected as a way of separating Ruby-throat from Black-chinned. When a bird is sitting at your feeder with its back turned toward you, note in the attached images that the tail extends beyond the wing tips in the Ruby-throat. Fitz Clarke’s shot of a Black-Chinned shows that there is no extension in this species.

Photo by Russ Wigh

Photo by Russ Wigh

Photo by Fitz Clarke

Photo by Fitz Clarke