Once a hummingbird is captured, it must be temporarily immobilized so it can be banded and measured. Different hummingbird banders use different techniques for holding the birds; some place them in mesh lingerie bags and gently pull the birds leg through an opening for banding.

At Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History, hummingbirds are carefully placed headfirst into a small paper tube slightly larger than the bird. While in the tube, the hummingbird can't struggle and hurt itself, and it can be banded and measured.

The bander places a partially opened hummingbird band (which had been formed previously) into special banding pliers and slides it over the leg of the bird. The band is then crimped shut and checked to assure that it is perfectly round and fits well. At Hilton Pond Center, all male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) are banded on the LEFT leg, females on the RIGHT.

© Bill Hilton Jr.

A female Ruby-throated Hummingbird being
banded on the RIGHT while being held
safely in a paper tube.

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