Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tracking the Journey North




Since we had a harsh winter, I was wondering if there would be a delay in the arrival of the Ruby-throated hummingbird. The delay only seems to be about a week according to reported sightings of these creatures on their migration journey northward.



The Ruby-throated hummingbird migrates north in the spring to breed. They fly from Central America up to the U.S. In winter, they feed from southern Mexico to northern Panama. Their journey north may begin as early as January, feeding off of insects found in northern Mexico. They fatten up, nearly doubling in weight, for the long journey, sometimes flying for 8 to 10 hours at a time with no rest until they reach the southern coast of the U.S. Then, the birds move northward at about 20 miles a day, feeding on the nectar from plants as they move along. The entire migration north takes about three months for all the birds to reach their destinations. They tend to return to the same place every year, usually the area where they were born visiting the same feeders.

Recently, I found a very helpful resource in tracking the migration of these incredible birds. The Annenberg Learner web site, a teaching and learning resource, provides migration maps for various birds and other creatures. The site has maps that track the migration of Monarch butterflies, Gray whales, and Baltimore Orioles, just to name a few. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird Spring 2014 Migration Map shows reported sightings of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds as they migrate north.



I have already put my feeders out as I do not have very many flowers blooming except for daffodils, cherry blossoms, and hellebores. I am ready for their arrival, waiting for that flutter of a wing, so quick, so delightful.

© copyright 2014 Michelle A. Potter

29 comments:

  1. our swallows have built their nest ... and gone ... back in spring.

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    1. It is always so nice to see the habits of birds. Hoping your spring comes soon.

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  2. I love that Journey North site! I report on it quite often, and it's fun to check migration progress for various species. I was surprised today to see hummingbird sightings in Indiana and Iowa! And then one of my friends said her sister saw one in the Madison, Wis., area on the weekend! So my feeders are going out tomorrow. I also found out recently that yellow-bellied sapsuckers (which have been around here for about a week) are indicators that hummingbirds will soon return. Here's a link about this partnership: http://birdnote.org/show/sapsuckers-and-hummingbirds. Great post!

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I will check that out. It is so nice to see all of the migrations and birds in spring.

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  3. What lovely little creatures. I remember being amazed when I saw hummingbirds in Colorado, thinking that they were birds from tropical climates. We also loved watching them when we were on holiday in St Lucia. That web site sounds very interesting. I am just about to have a look at it to see the Monarch page you mentioned.

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    1. I, too, am so fascinated by them. They make such an amazing journey each year.

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  4. You are so fortunate to have hummingbirds, I have never seen one apart from on TV and pictures on blogs, they look so sweet!

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    1. I think they are sweet, too. I wish I saw them year round.

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  5. Wow, I had no idea they flew for so long! I usually had a bunch of hummingbirds visit my garden in North Carolina. I hope they will come up and visit me in Massachusetts now! I don't put out feeders for them, but I do garden for wildlife, including the hummingbirds. So pretty!

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    1. According to the map, they are there now. Enjoy watching them!

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  6. Thanks for posting this; I knew there was such a website, but I lost my bookmark to it. I'm always eager to see the first hummingbirds here--they usually don't arrive until late May or early June, but maybe I should set out my feeders now just in case a few speedy ones arrive early.

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    1. I am glad the web site exists because I am often curious when they will arrive. So glad you enjoy the post.

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  7. Interesting map of migration, Michelle. I've never known that hummingbirds fatten before flying.Hope they soon are in your garden. My daffodils start blooming only now because of cold nights.

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    1. Your temps are so much colder than ours. Your daffs will certainly be beautiful.

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  8. Fascinating information, like Helene I have never actually seen a Humming Bird. Perhaps you could direct them this way.

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    1. It would be my pleasure to whisper in one's ear to take a visit over your way. ;)

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  9. Interesting to know about the Ruby-Throated hummingbirds, they are beautiful. I'm going to plant more flowers to attract these wonderful birds. What kinds of plants do you have that they love? By the way I have a new URL and my blog has changed from blossomhideaway.blogspot.com to homegrowndelight.blogspot.com. Please update your reading list and sidebar. Stop by when you have a chance. Have a great week! :)

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    1. I will make a note of it. So glad you like the post.

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  10. I had no idea that hummingbirds migrated that far. We have them in Maine and see them feeding heavily in September, I guess before they leave.

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    1. I have noticed them feeding quite heavily in the fall. It is amazing how small they are and how strong.

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  11. Aren't they amazing little creatures? I wait with sweet anticipation for their arrival in my gardens... they put on quite the show for us each year.

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    1. Yes, I agree. I feel so excited each time I see them. :)

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  12. I haven't put my feeders out yet because we're having our patio rebuilt and the back yard is a wreck right now. But they should be done very soon and I'll have everything back to normal. I wonder how they've kept warm with our recent cold snap. Thanks for posting the migration map. :o)

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    1. I often wonder that as well, but somehow they know how far north to go and when. Amazing!

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  13. I love Journey North and used in when I taught Elementary School...based on the maps, we put up our feeders and I expect them any day now. Fingers crossed.

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    1. I saw one a few days ago, and so I know they are here. They are so cute.

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  14. I find bird migration fascinating, they travel such a long way, though the thought of them eating so much that they doubled in size made me giggle. I tend to eat a lot on long road trips... My in laws are in Arizona very much enjoying the hummers.

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'I see trees of green, red roses, too
I see 'em bloom for me and for you
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world'
--What a Wonderful World

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