Changing land use patterns, habitat loss, and changing climate conditions are all factors affecting hummingbird populations. Wethington, director of the Hummingbird Monitoring Network, will bring her expertise to this presentation as part of the organization’s public education initiative.
She will share general information about hummingbirds, recent research results, and offer suggestions on how Arizona residents can help these tiny gems of the bird world.
With more than 335 species, hummingbirds are the second most diverse lineage of birds in the Americas and are the primary lineage of avian pollinators. More than 15 percent of hummingbird species are threatened or endangered.
Their physical characteristics and ecological adaptations make them unique – so much so that techniques used to understand population trends of other birds are generally ineffective for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds’ small size, significant physiological constraints, pollinator lifestyle, high-pitched vocalizations, and unique flight abilities are just some of the traits that require specialized techniques to monitor their populations.
Based in nearby Patagonia, Ariz., the network is one of four organizations funded to determine and predict the impact of climate change on hummingbird diversity and abundance; one of two organizations tasked with the development of hummingbird field techniques; and is a founding partner of Borderlands Restoration L3C that seeks to restore physical processes (e.g. hydrology, fire), enhance nectar landscapes for pollinators, and engage borderland communities (Mexico/USA) in conservation work.
Written by Beverley Robertson, Academy Village Volunteer