Automated tracking of energy balance in wild hummingbirds

Project Description

Using micro-RFID transponder technology, we will automate the identification of tagged hummingbirds at specially outfitted nectar feeder stations.  This automated identification will be coupled with monitoring of hummingbird mass during perch-feeding permitting precise and repeatable tracking of weight (as a proxy for energy status) over hours, days, and whole seasons.

Additional Scientific Information

Monitoring of mass as a means of estimating energy balance in wild hummingbirds has been successfully employed in the past, though it has traditionally been limited by available researcher time and effort, resulting in limited sample sizes.  By PIT-tagging hummingbirds, I hope to massively increase collection of mass data, leading to sample sizes sufficient to more completely explore the relationship between hummingbird energy balance and environmental parameters such as temperature and the effects of foraging –disrupting events such as intense rain.

Principal InvestigatorKenneth Welch  Goto->Lab page
Researcher(s): Lily Hou

Poster presentations:

Hou, L. and Welch, K.C. 2013. Energetics of wild ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris). Ontario Ecology, Ethology, and Colloquium. London, Ontario.

Hou, L. and Welch, K.C. 2014. Automated tracking of wild hummingbird mass and energetics over multiple time scales using radio-frequency identification technology. Genomes to Biomes. Montreal, Quebec.

Publication(s)

Hou, Lily, Michael Verdirame, and Kenneth C. Welch. “Automated tracking of wild hummingbird mass and energetics over multiple time scales using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.” Journal of Avian Biology (2015).  Journal of Avian Biology 46: 1–8, 2015  doi: 10.1111/jav.00478

JAB_46_01_COVERHou-et-al-JAB-cover-image

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