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
Posted by The Sage Butterfly