August Banding Activities
August is not usually a busy month for banding activities in West Central Texas . The first week in August always marks the end of the MAPS season and fall migration banding does not start in earnest until the end of the month . This year was a bit different due to a banner breeding season for many resident breeders. Painted Buntings, Summer Tanagers, Blue Grosbeaks, and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers along with many other species had record or near record breeding seasons on the Hummer House Ranch. We continued for find good numbers of hatch year birds throughout the month.
We took time away from the Hummer House to make our annual trip to the Davis Mountains where we worked with Kelly Bryan banding many special hummingbirds of that region as the migration season for the western hummingbirds started. Although our first efforts for the week started slow, we finished the week with great numbers of most western species. Although we seldom have an opportunity to band significant numbers of Calliope Hummingbirds, we banded sixteen in a single morning. We returned home to find some of these same birds working their way south through west Texas. I traveled to Water Valley to band our first Rufous Hummingbird in Concho Valley for the season. On our next trip to the Hummer House, we banded two Rufous Hummingbirds and one Calliope Hummingbird along with many Ruby-throated and Black-Chinned Hummingbirds. With the assistance of several guest banders who visited the ranch, we finished the month with seven Rufous Hummingbirds and two Calliope Hummingbirds. This is a record number of Western Hummingbirds banded there in a single season. As August passes, we anticipate an excellent migration season on the South Concho River.