This Saturday, visitors to the Indiana Dunes State Park can watch a naturalist trap, band, and release hummingbirds as Brad Bumgardner demonstrates his research and "banding" techniques while providing locals with tips and tricks on attracting the tiny, gem-like creatures to their own backyards.
“For visitors who have never seen a hummingbird in the hand and up close, it’s a magical experience,” Bumgardner says.
The free event begins at 9am at the Dunes State Park Nature Center, followed by a presentation at 1:30pm where Bumgardner will speak about his research with ruby-throated hummingbirds.
"Bird banding" or "ringing" is the practice of placing a tiny, lightweight scroll of soft aluminum around a bird's leg that contains identifying information, which then allows biologists to track migratory species.
Each band is custom-made to avoid discomfort, since the birds will wear the devices for the rest of their lives.
Hummingbirds, which are too intelligent to capture via the standard "mist net," are typically outsmarted by baiting their traps with food feeders.
Here's a great primer on bird banding from the Long Point Bird Observatory in Ontario: