Releasing the Hummingbird
One a hummingbird bander is finished with the work, it's time to release the tiny bird. Nancy holds the hummer on her hand, and lets it decide when it wants to take off. Usually the bird sits for just a moment before flying off. Will Nancy ever see it again? Most of them stick around for a day or two, often flying back inside the trap cage to feed from the hummingbird feeder within, though Nancy doesn't trip the trap door on them because she can see by the white forehead mark that she's already banded each one.
Some of these hummingbirds return the following year, and a few are caught by other banders in other places. From recaptures, ornithologists are learning all kinds of things about the timing, direction, and length of hummingbird movements. As each little bird flies off, we keep our fingers crossed that it will have a long, happy life and that it will be found in good health in the coming years.