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November 2017 & January 2018


Click on an image above to open a PDF flyer about each trip

You can also go directly to Holbrook Travel's Web site
for more information and to register:

11-19 November 2017

20-28 January 2018


All text, charts, maps & photos © Hilton Pond Center

Adult male Ruby-throated hummingbird (above) perched on a
Chayote vine in Ujarrás, Costa Rica (Nov 2014)

Operation RubyThroat
20117-18 Tropical Hummingbird Expeditions to Central America

(Updated 07 Mar 2017)

Each winter since 2004-05, Dr. Bill Hilton Jr.--executive director of Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History--has offered excursions for nature enthusiasts to Central America to observe and band Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (RTHU) on their wintering grounds.

During the past 12 years Hilton has led more than 250 U.S., Canadian, and Costa Rican teachers and citizen scientists on 27 Neotropical hummingbird field expeditions to Central America--including 12 to Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. (More than three dozen alumni have been on two or more trips, and two have been on six!) He is the first researcher to systematically band and observe ruby-throats on their non-breeding grounds in the tropics; to date, 798 RTHU have been banded in Guanacaste. He also led five expeditions to Ujarrás, Costa Rica to band another 353 wintering RTHU on the Caribbean slope where "they're not supposed to be." On solo trips he was the first scientist to band ruby-throats in El Salvador (2 RTHU) and Guatemala (58 RTHU), and led seven hummingbird expeditions to Belize in 2010-15 (148 RTHU), one trip to Guatemala in 2011 (4 more RTHU), and one trip to band the first RTHU in Nicaragua in 2013 (15 banded, plus three more in 2016). He completed another solo trip to Ujarrás in December 2015 when he banded another 106 RTHU with volunteer help from ticos and ticas.

Hilton's Ruby-throated Hummingbird banding total in Central America now stands at 1,468--far more than the 46 that had been banded in Mexico and Central America prior to his work. (New expeditions are scheduled in for Ujarrás, Costa Rica in November 2017 and January 2018; see below.)

All trips are under the auspices of Operation RubyThroat: The Hummingbird Project and logistics are handled by Holbrook Travel. No field experience is necessary--just a willingness to help discover new information about ruby-throats on the OTHER end of their migratory route.

NOTE: Alumni of any Holbrook Professional Development Expedition--including past Operation RubyThroat trips--are eligible for a $100 discount. New participants may also get a discount by signing up for two trips.


Unless otherwise noted, "Weeks" are actually nine days long,
including a travel day on either end.

Trips fill quickly and some already have only a few slots remaining. Prices cover all land costs (lodging, food, activities, instruction, etc.) and are based on 12 participants; air fare, tips & exit tax extra. Click on a trip below for a detailed itinerary and other info. To reserve your space, contact:
Debbie (Sturdivant) Jordan at Holbrook Travel
toll-free at (866) 748-6146

NOTE: Multi-trip & alumni discounts are available as we follow
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds during migration throughout
Central America.

All text, charts, maps & photos © Hilton Pond Center

For complete reports on all of Operation RubyThroat's successful Neotropical Hummingbird Banding Expeditions, please visit
This Week at Hilton Pond at the following links:


See a write-up about the 2006 trip in the
May/June 2006 Costa Rica Outdoors magazine

All text & photos © Hilton Pond Center

If you enjoy "This Week at Hilton Pond," please help support
Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History.
It's painless, and YOU can make a difference!

(Just CLICK on a logo below or send a check if you like; see Support for address.)

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If you like shopping on-line please become a member of iGive, through which 800+ on-line stores from Amazon to Lands' End and even iTunes donate a percentage of your purchase price to support Hilton Pond Center . Every new member who registers with iGive and makes a purchase earns an ADDITIONAL $5 for the Center. You can even do Web searches through iGive and earn a penny per search--sometimes TWO--for the cause! Please enroll by going to the iGive Web site. It's a painless, important way for YOU to support our on-going work in conservation, education, and research. Add the iGive Toolbar to your browser and register Operation RubyThroat as your preferred charity to make it even easier to help Hilton Pond Center when you shop.

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Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Dr. Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this Web site--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.