Hummingbird Migration Update: March 19, 2009

Today's Report Includes:

Please Report
Your Sightings! >>

What just happened? Look closer for clues >>
Photo: ©
Alandra Palisser
The Migration: Highlights, Maps, and Questions

Distribution Map


This Week's Map >>
Week-by-Week Animation >>
Sightings >>


This Week's Map >>
Week-by-Week Animation >>
Sightings >>

Handouts: Today's Hummingbird Map Questions
Rufous Questions >                Rubythroat Questions > 
What might have influenced last week's rubythroat migration? Click on each map to explore.

Average Temperatures

Highlights: Hummers Hunkering Down
After a huge rush forward in early March, ruby-throated hummingbirds lay low this past week. What might have slowed them down? Take a look at these maps and see what you think.

Despite being "grounded" for a while, some rubythroats made it into yet another state. Once you figure out which one, don't forget to add it to your Migration Route Prediction Chart. Here's another reason to celebrate: Observers tell us that female rubythroats are finally heading north. Can baby-filled nests be far behind?

Out West, an observer in Washington had this explanation for why his first rufous was later than usual: "The cold weather has delayed the opening of the salmonberry and other blossoms, so there's nothing out there for the hummers to eat except at the feeder." Next week, we'll explore how else hummingbirds get the food energy they need to dart, dive, and zip toward you!

In the meantime, a mix of weather is forecast for the rufous and rubythroat regions. But when conditions allow, the migrations will speed forward. Observers have reported hummers stopping by "for a good meal" and quickly rushing on. So keep your eyes on the skies, feeders, and maps. Also, see how observers' details spark your ideas for scientific investigations:
  • This Week's Observations from Citizen Scientists >>
Journal: How Does This Year Compare?

Journal Page >>

The dots on the maps popped up like crazy in early March, but then slowed down this week. Is the progress of this year's migration "normal" or unusual? Take a look at three years of ruby-throated hummingbird maps, then decide what you think!

  • This Year's Rubythroat Migration: Early, Late, or About the Same? >>
Spring's Here! What Does it Mean for Migrating Hummingbirds?

For many weeks, you have reported signs of seasonal change. Now the calendar says it's official: Spring begins on March 20! Why? Scientists declare spring in the Northern Hemisphere when the most direct rays of the sun hit the Earth's equator. What does that mean for migrating hummingbirds?

  • Explore: Spring's Here! Sunlight and the Migration >>
Be a Citizen Scientist: We Need Your Help to Track the Migration

Most of our ruby-throated hummingbird reports come from data submitted by observers to hummingbird expert Lanny Chambers. These reports, which list first sighting dates, help us see how the rubythroat migration moves forward.

Our best reports come from other citizen scientists, like YOU. Why? We rely on your reports for the wonderful comments and descriptions you include. These paint a more detailed picture of how ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate, behave, use their habitats, and respond to changing weather and climate. So please keep your eyes peeled and be sure to report your first sighting!

  • Use this link to report your sightings:

When you spot your first ruby-throated or rufous hummer, tell us all about it!
This Week's Hummingbird Resources
  • Predict: Where Will They Arrive, and When? Making Predictions >>
  • Questions? Ask the Hummingbird Expert (open until March 27) >>
  • Photo Study: What Just Happened? >>
  • Teaching Tips: Making Sense of Journey North Maps >>
  • Tool: How Far? Measure the Distance with Google Maps! >>
  • Compare: This Year's Rubythroat Migration: Early, Late, or About the Same? >>
  • Observation and Lesson: Spring's Here! What Does it Mean for Migrating Hummers? >>
  • Lesson Plan: How Do You Define Spring? >>
  • Hummingbird Migration Journals (click-and-print) >>
  • Hummingbirds for Kids (booklets, photos, videos) >>
More Hummingbird Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 26, 2009.