Modern technology is having an awesome impact on wildlife research. Drones are now permitting biologists to assess such things as wildlife habitats and animal behavior in a fraction of the time and effort it would take using techniques that are more conventional. Even PIT (Passive Intergrated Transponder) technology is enabling biologists to track the movements of animals as small as a hummingbird.
If a dog or cat has found a Forever Home in your residence, you are familiar with PIT tags. Most dogs and cats carry a PIT tag. However, PIT technology has advances enough to the point where miniaturized tracking devices are tiny enough to be used to track the movements of a hummingbird. As with our pets, these extremely small devices are delicately inserted beneath the animal’s skin
With this technology, biologists can easily track the movements of individual hummingbirds going about their daily lives. A group of researchers from the University Of California Davis School Of Veterinary Medicine recently reported the results of their study designed to track hummingbirds visiting feeders in a suburban backyard. Each time a hummingbird visited a feeder their visit was logged by a scanning device similar to those used when we purchase everything from books and clothing to groceries.
The study involved placing PIT tags in Anna’s and Allen’s hummingbird and then recording how often and long each tagged bird visited the seven feeders scattered about the yard. From September 2016 through March 2018, the birds visited the feeders roughly 65,500 times.
Among the fascinating facts the biologists have gleaned from their study are:
● Female hummingbirds have a tendency to linger longer at feeders than males.
● During the spring and summer hummingbirds visit feeders more often in the morning and evening than at any other part of the day.
● Male hummingbirds more often feed with other males than with females.
Do any of these findings hold true with what you have observed watching ruby-throated hummingbirds in your backyard?