Parks and Wildlife Seeks Hummingbird Information
AUSTIN, Texas -- Did you have hummingbirds darting about your backyard this
year? Was the air alive with the sound of little wings? Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department would like to know.
"We have been surveying hummingbird data across the state since 1994 and
are looking for more data points to add to the picture we currently have of our
state hummingbird population," said Mark Klym, coordinator of the Texas
Hummingbird Roundup. "Our current survey participants are providing data
that helps us understand the diversity and ecology of hummingbirds in Texas, but
it is equally important that we fill in some of the holes by getting some
information from areas that are currently not represented in the survey."
Texas has the most diverse range of hummingbirds with 18 species recorded to
date. "Everyone sees the common species, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds,
Black-chinned Hummingbirds or Buff-bellied Hummingbirds," said Patricia
Morton, program leader for Education and Outreach with the Wildlife Diversity
Branch of TPWD. "Texas has so much more to offer and the Roundup is a great
way to learn more about these wonderful birds while providing valuable
information to the state. Often people are unaware that more than one species of
hummingbird may be feeding at their feeders."
Another limiting factor in the data collection is the timing when some of
these birds are here. "For a long time people were told, and this helped
spread the word, to take their feeders down in mid October so the birds will
migrate. Rufous Hummingbirds are commonly seen from November to January. Other
hummingbirds that might be around at that time are Anna's, Calliope,
Black-chinned, Allen's and even the occasional Ruby-throated or Buff-bellied.
These birds are in no danger of starving or freezing and have chosen to stay in
Texas for the winter. By taking our feeders down, we may actually limit the
number and diversity of birds we see," Klym says.
Information for the Hummingbird Roundup is collected using a specific data
form. For more information, visit the Web (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/nature/birding/humrunup.htm).
There is also a package that can be purchased for $6 by those wanting a little
more information with their survey. "We would really like people to use the
forms, but even a reply like "we had hummingbirds this year" and your
address is a little more information than we had. In other words, you do not
have to be an expert birder to help us out," says Klym.
If you have hummingbird information you would like to share, please send it
to: Texas Hummingbird Roundup, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith
School Road, Austin, TX 78744.