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Field Notes
We asked bird bander, Meret Wilson, from Ormond Beach, Florida:
How do you know if you are seeing a ruby-throat hummingbird migrant?

I watch the behavior of my overwintering hummingbirds. Their "hummer fights" will indicate a new intruder has arrived. My males that have overwintered here look a bit shaggy at the moment, but the new migrants that will show up, most likely late March to early April will be shinning with new fresh alternate breeding plumage.

What will you be looking for in the new migrants you examine this spring while banding?

I look at the breast muscle to get some indication of stress. It will be used up if the bird was short on fat and had to convert muscle to sugar for energy. Not a good sign. I expect good condition in the birds if they get a nice tailwind and don't have a lot of stress migrating north.

early December, Alexander City, AL
Examining breast muscle

Meret Wilson
Meret Wilson with banded Robin