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Did You Notice?

  • The first female rubythroat (sitting on a thumb) has a white stripe on the top of her head. The rubythroat hovering at a flower only has white at the tip of her tail.
Photo: Aimee Johnson
Peat W. Hammond

What's the Story?
Both hummingbirds have white tips on their tails, but you can only see them when a tail is spread open. But the stripe on the head is another story! Read what hummingbird banders Rachel Powless and Carl Pascoe have to say:

"Hummingbird banding has begun! Woo-hoo. This little lady was quite amazing. Carl banded her and painted her head with non-toxic paint for a study we're conducting. Next, rather than rocket off of Carl's hand, she decided to hop up on his thumb and sit. She was quite relaxed. Carl decided to turn her around to pose her for better photos, and she was most obliging. This is something we have never experienced! "Thumbalina" stayed a good 60 seconds on Carl's thumb. This is an eternity for a hummingbird.

P.S. The paint will wear off once the hummingbirds begin to molt their current feathers in August in order to grow in their migration feathers.

Learn more about banding and marking hummingbirds!