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Mortality Among Young Hummingbirds

A. B. Howell
Publication Information
Journal: 
Condor
Volume: 
12
Issue: 
1 (January-February)
Section: 
From Field and Study
Year: 
1910
Pages: 
46

Mortality Among Young Hummingbirds

During the time that I was able to devote to field work in the spring of 1908, I found fourteen Hummingbirds’ nests that I was able to keep track of. Almost all of these were near Santa Barbara, and were chiefly of the Black-chinned (Archilochus alexandri), with a few Allen (Selasphorus alleni). Of these, five either were destroyed by some unknown cause, or, as in the case of two of them, the eggs were deserted. Of the remaining nine nests, only one brood was successfully reared. In every other case did I discover the young hummers dead at an average age of four or five days. Seven of these nests were placed over the dry bed of a certain stream near Santa Barbara, so I am unable to judge whether their deaths were due only to some local cause or otherwise. The weather was good during this time, so the only solution that I can see to the problem, is that the young birds may have been fed on the dead insects gotten by their parents from flowers that had been sprayed with poison. This is only a guess of course. Has any one else discovered a large mortality among young hummers in the State during the past year or two?

A. B. HOWELL

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