Citizen Scientists Track Hummingbirds in Wisconsin
by Camila Cruz, age 14
You should consider yourself lucky if you see a hummingbird, and especially lucky if they are close enough for you to hear them.
The noise of a hummingbird comes from its wings, which move very fast. A hummingbird’s wings move about 75 times per second.
Cynthia Bridge, founder of the Western Great Lakes Hummingbird Project, is one of three hummingbird banders in Wisconsin. “They are the most incredible to experience when they hover near your head in the garden, where you can hear the humming of their wings,” she said.
In 2015 Bridge launched the Great Lakes Hummingbird Project to expand research and learn more about these birds. This nonprofit project helps people better understand hummingbirds in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In just one breeding season, which occurs during the summer, the Hummingbird Project bands around 600 hummingbirds.
Banding is the process of attaching a small band to a bird’s leg. Researchers and scientists do this to collect information. The Hummingbird Project can band as many as 150 birds in a day. Bridge calls it a “labor of love.”
Bridge is formally trained as a master permitted hummingbird bander. She describes herself as a scientist and naturalist at heart.
The Western Great Lakes Hummingbird Project is among several organizations and many individual enthusiasts who work to learn more about hummingbirds and the various hummingbird species that live in Wisconsin. This kind of research has proved valuable in protecting hummingbird populations in our state.
[Sources: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; jsonline.com; USA TODAY]