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One of the main goals of this field season is to collect another year of data for our long-term study of avian demography. A key metric when studying populations is annual survival, the probability that a given individual survives a year in face of predation, food limitation, and general mortality. To calculate this one must mark animals and then attempt to observe them in subsequent years, a process known as mark-recapture. This is our fifth year doing so in northern Peru, and we’ve been pretty successful so far in catching a large number of birds banded in previous years. Last month we were extremely excited by a special recapture: a male Booted Racket-Tail Hummingbird. Normally we’d be excited just to catch this extravagant bird, but this capture was particularly unique in that it had originally been banded five years ago during the first year of the study! You can see the tiny band we use specially for hummingbirds in the second photo.

Hummer
A Male Booted Racket-Tail Hummingbird. The Peru variety has orange “boots”, while those found in the northern Andes have white ones.
Hummer
The hummingbird was captured five years ago during the first year of the project. You can see its tiny band!