Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Operation RubyThroat plans 30th trip!

Operation RubyThroat plans 30th trip!

Apr 13, 2018|NewsBirding| by Holbrook Travel

In November, Operation RubyThroat, a project of the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History, will embark on its 30th trip in the name of citizen science and conservation. Under the leadership of Dr. Bill Hilton Jr., teams of citizen scientists have been traveling to Central America to observe and band Ruby-throated Hummingbirds since 2004.

Much is known about the behavior of this common hummingbird species within its North American breeding range. However, until Dr. Hilton started work in collaboration with Ernesto M. Carman in Costa Rica in 2004, almost nothing was known about the behavioral ecology of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) on the other end of their migratory path—even though these tiny birds spend nearly half the year in Mexico and Central America.

Scintillant Hummingbird by Dr. Bill Hilton Jr.

Mist netting and live-trapping operations will be centered at Ujarrás, a riverside agricultural community whose cash crop is Chayote—a squash that flowers prolifically and whose nectar is sought by hummingbirds and other avifauna. Volunteers on this upcoming trip will help with capturing and banding the hummingbirds in the field, and the data they collect will provide a more complete understanding of the birds’ migration route and patterns, population dynamics, molt, and longevity.

The program will also include time for field trips to view other fauna and lush flora in natural areas, including Tapantí National Park, Irazú Volcano, and Rancho Naturalista ("Home of the Snowcap").

Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Dr. Bill Hilton Jr.


The trip is open to anyone who would like to participate; experience and training are not necessary.

Visit the program page to learn more about the upcoming trip.

Learn more about Operation RubyThroat at