[Tweeters] Hummers-3 - How to keep tabs on them

Dave Nuttall dave_nuttall at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 1 19:55:14 PDT 2005

As I get more intrigued by the activities of the hummers (BTW, I'm
originally from England, and we don't have any hummers there), I also get
more frustrated by my inability to figure out what is going on. When there
are a few tens of birds it is possible to get a rough head-count and
correlate this with sugar consumption, but extrapolating this across species
/ location / time seems to be fraught with error. When dealing with a large
number of birds it is also impossible to keep track by any visual means -
I've tried using a web-cam and motion detection software, but that just
generates thousands of pictures a day.


Recent postings about leg bands set me thinking. Leg bands themselves would
not work, as they need to be identified visually. But RFID tags (like pet
microchips, and those that will be used in stores) are very small (think
grain of rice), are becoming cheaper all the time, and could easily be
attached to a single leg band. A reader positioned near the feeder can be
used to pass bird arrival and departure information to a computer (pretty
much any old machine would do). If the feeder was attached to a digital
scale, the mass could be taken at each bird arrival and departure, so meal
size could be figured out. Add readers around the neighborhood, and you can
track what the birds do during the day. Add readers around the birds' range,
and you can track movement and migration patterns.


So what are the obstacles to doing this? How does one become certified to
catch and band birds, or are there plenty of people out there who can do
this already? Can we convince RFID manufacturer (s) to donate tags and/or
readers? I can write the software to capture the raw data and consolidate
it. Is there already someone doing this, and if so, how can I contact them??
Is anyone else interested????


Dave Nuttall

MailTo:dave_nuttall at yahoo.com

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