Have you ever wondered what is meant by the term “banding”? Many people have heard of the term but are not entirely clear on just what the term means. It is my hope that this post will give you a better understanding of just what “banding” means.
“Banding" is when a hummingbird is temporarily trapped and a tiny numbered strip of aluminum is wrapped around one leg. The bird is trapped only long enough for the “banding” to take place and no harm is done to the hummingbird as a result of this process. This method is currently the only way to identify individual hummingbirds. Individual species are studied by gathering data on large numbers of individuals.
Banding studies suggest that individual birds may follow a set route year after year, often arriving at the same feeder on the same day. It isn’t currently known for certain if any individual bird follows the same route in both directions, but there are some indications that they do not. Further research is needed on the matter before any definitive conclusion can be reach on this subject.