|Posted by Brian on May 26, 2017 at 4:15 PM|
I recently just wrapped up a 75-day field season. I caught a total of 132 birds, making the last few months successful. I'll be slowly uploading pictures and videos from the trip in the coming days. Here's a breakdown of my travel by county: San Diego-Los Angeles-Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo-Monterey-Mendocino-Humboldt-Del Norte-Curry, OR-Lane, OR-Coos, OR. That's eight counties along the California coast, and three more from southern to central Oregon.
Although I enjoyed my time out there, it feels great to be back home and sleep in my own bed. Also, I can finally put together all of my data and map out the hybrid zone! Plans for the summer include submitting a manuscript describing the Allen’s x Rufous Hummingbird hybrid zone for the first time to a scientific journal, presenting my research at the American Ornithological Society conference in Michigan, and beginning genetic work on all of my samples from the last several field seasons.
Highlights from the trip include some awesome wildlife sightings: Mountain Lion (although I never want to see one again), American Black Bear, Rubber Boa, a lot of garter snakes, Gopher Snake, Pileated Woodpecker, tree frogs, a few foxes, and some raccoons (including the one that jumped into the back of my vehicle and stole my tortilla chips). I also saw several instances of aggression between territorial males of hummingbirds, including a couple instances physical attacks (one bird flies into the other by repeatedly hitting him on the side). One time I even saw a female hummingbird attack a displaying male. Most of the time, females are simply looking for their next meal, and if they happen to be on a male’s territory while searching for that meal, the male sees it as an opportunity to mate. Pretty much every single time. Give them a break; during the breeding season, the testes of a male hummingbird can expand to become 10% of his body weight. Thanks for checking out my blog throughout the field season, and check back for more pictures and videos soon!