2009 Bird Banding by Concho Valley Bird Banders
Releasing her first bird!
Bird banding in the Concho Valley took on a different look during the 2009 banding year. Before that time most efforts by local bird banders had been concentrated on the Hummer House at Christoval for several good reasons. The Hummer House has more significant and unique banding records than any other site in this part of the state. It has large numbers of many species and thus is a wonderful research site. And last but not least, Dan and Cathy Brown have a long history of bird conservation and support of research efforts not surpassed by others in our knowledge. However, with the addition of other local banders and volunteers, it seemed possible to reach out to the edges of the Concho Valley in our banding efforts to better understand bird populations and movements within the entire region. We hoped to do this without any lessening of our commitment to the Hummer House.
                                Hummer House Bed and Breakfast, Christoval, TX

With this goal in mind, local bird banders continued to fulfill their educational commitment to public and private school students, continued to provide education to adult birding groups, and continued to conduct bird surveys for landowners and Texas Parks and Wildlife sites. At the same time, efforts were made to locate suitable sites for systematic banding across the region. We surveyed several sites and felt very fortunate to make contact with Mike McCloskey, the owner of Twistflower Ranch in Crockett County who has been generous in allowing us access to the ranch for banding purposes. This ranch has proven to be a wonderful site along the western edge of the Concho Valley. We have yet to begin tapping the real potential of this ranch as a banding research site. However, we have already banded many unique and significant records at this location. In 2009 we were also welcomed at the Allen Ranch in Kimble County south of the Concho Valley, the Enoch Ranch near Eldorado and the Sweet Ranch near Blackwell.
                                           Twistflower Ranch in Crockett County, TX

                           More than 5300 birds were banded by local banders in the Concho Valley during 2009 representing 100 species. At the Hummer House, 5188 birds were banded by local and visiting banders. Eighty-four species were banded. Both of these figures are all-time records for the Hummer House. Banding highlights include the discovery of a seemingly endless supply of orioles at Twistflower Ranch. They are present there in numbers not exceeded at any other site in memory. In May, an adult female Chestnut –sided Warbler was banded at the Hummer House. This was the first of this species recorded in the Concho Valley in more than 30 years. In September, a second of that species was banded at the Hummer House. In August, the Hummer Ranch was visited by a lone male Broad-billed Hummingbird that we named Leo. He remained there for a period of two weeks and attempts were made daily to net and band this bird to no avail. This would have been a unique record for the Concho Valley. That same month a hybrid male Black-chinned//Ruby-throated Humming bird was banded.
 
Chestnut-sided Warbler at Hummer Ranch


"Leo" the Broad-billed Hummingbird at Hummer Ranch
Photo by Sid Rucker