Researcher visits

It had been four years since Dr. Kira Delmore and her students had been at the house. As before Kira and her students were here to catch the hummers. Here in Wise County, we are in a hybrid zone for the Ruby-throated and Black-chinned hummingbirds. Unlike the multi-generational hybrid titmice we have, the hybrid hummers here are only first generational.

This was one of the first confirmed male hybrids at our house in 2011 by Oklahoma State University master’s student, Erica Judd.

My feeder is usually located on the window for our viewing pleasure. However, that would not work with their trap. So Kira hung it above.
Then you wait. You can not see it in the photo but they had a long string that acted as the trigger so they could drop the net. There were two traps where we usually put our feeders.
Snared one!

Kira watches as the student gets the female hummer.

Before putting the hummer in the sack a quick sip of the sugar water for her.

An additional drink before getting the necessary data.

Kira had just been to California to learn this new technique for drawing blood from the toenail. After enough blood was drawn she then cauterizes the toenail with a silver nitrate stick.

A small tuft of neck feathers and also a couple tail feathers were needed.

Beak measurement, check!
Body length, check!

Data carefully logged.

Go girl!

The team caught four females at our house. They had also caught four at Jeanne’s house. However, at another neighbor’s house they had the most success catching thirteen including some pretty hybrid males.

Tweaking Just a Few Genes Transforms Scales Into Feathers

Keep looking!

The more you know, the more you see and the more you see, the more you know.


  1. Back years ago when I came and watched, was that someone else, not U of OK? You mentioned this group had been there 4 years ago and I wasn’t up there 4 years ago.
    I have gotten to hold 3 hummers since I have been down here. It is an unreal experience to hold such light weight and tiny birds! The 2 that I rehabbed I would hold their bill to the sugar water and they would drink and build up strength when they couldn’t fly and feed themselves. It really is cool to get to observe them close up. amazing animals!

  2. Yeah, it was the master’s student from Oklahoma State University (Stillwater). She was at the house in 2011.I agree they are crazy light. I had one land on my hand once. Very neat!

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