Each year Hilton Pond Center--through "Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project"--offers citizen science expeditions as part of the only in-depth long-term study of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds on their wintering grounds in the Neotropics. Although much is known about behavior of this common hummer species within its North American breeding range, little is known about what these tiny birds do the OTHER six months when they're south of the border.
During 17 successful trips to Central America, master hummingbird bander Bill Hilton Jr. and his field assistants have discovered much about ruby-throat territoriality, site fidelity, and foraging behavior that was previously unknown to science, and every trip offers opportunity to learn even more. Since 2004, Hilton has banded nearly 1,000 ruby-throats in Latin American countries--far more than the 46 that had been banded there previously by all other banders.
Hilton has announced that spaces are still available for some upcoming expeditions. The second annual November 2012 trip to UjarrÃ¡s in eastern Costa Rica (where ruby-throats "aren't supposed to be") is filled, while the first-ever expedition to Montibelli, Nicaragua in February 2013 has only one space left. A few slots remain for the February 2013 trip to Guanacaste Province in western Costa Rica and to Crooked Tree in Belize in March 2013. (Pricing for the Belize trip has just been reduced.)
To allow for extensive personal experience observing, handling, releasing, and photographing wild birds, each expedition is strictly limited to 12 participants. The group spends mornings catching hummingbirds (and plenty of other tropical bird species) while most afternoons are devoted to natural history and cultural field trips to local destinations. Housing is at comfortable lodges that serve great food. No experience is necessary; we teach you all you need to know in what is sure to be a broadening, enjoyable, and life-changing experience.
For details about these upcoming expeditions and to reserve one of the few remaining spaces, please see "Follow the Hummingbirds North" atÂ http://www.hiltonpond.org/TropicalTripAnnounceGeneral.html
. Sign up today while you still have a chance to participate in this groundbreaking project in Central America, where "winter" weather is bound to be more pleasant than in most of the continental U.S. Â 🙂
Happy (Neotropical) Hummingbird Watching!