Hummingbird Migration Update: April 16, 2009

Today's Report Includes:

Please Report
Your Sightings! >>

A body part that "fits"! What clues do you see? >>

Photo: Russ Thompson
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 > 
Students from Mexico and the United States exchange hummingbird art and more! >>
Highlights: Early Birds Push, Masses Move!
"We saw a ruby-throated hummingbird hovering outside our window this morning!" report eagle-eyed 5th graders in Stanfield, NC. The migration is starting to peak in their area and elsewhere in the South. Further north, some early tiny dynamos landed in two new states this past week. Can you find them? (The dark orange dots show the latest reports.)

One eager observer noticed rubythroat reports in her area, but wondered why she hadn't seen one yet. Remember, these maps show the earliest birds, not the masses of migrants. So if you haven't seen a hummer yet, keep your eyes and ears open. Oodles of them are still pushing north! And the next few days promise some fine flying weather.

Some of you talk about your hummingbird being back. One observer says that when his hummers returned, they checked the wire hanger where the feeder was last year. Do hummingbirds really return to the same places each spring? If you were a tiny hummer, how could you find one little feeder after a thousand mile journey? Let's explore:

  • How Do They Find Their Way Back? Hummingbird Navigation >>
  • More of This Week's Observations from Citizen Scientists >>
Out West, something seems to be shifting with the rufous migration. Did you notice that some birds have headed way inland? Were they blown off course, or is something else at work? You'll discover that secret — and others — in next week's update!
Journal: How Can You Help Hummingbirds?
Explore >>

Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22. It's a time to think about how to best care for the earth and its creatures. Think about what you know about hummingbirds. Then use your Hummingbird Journal to do this:

  • List some ways that human activities might put hummingbirds at risk.
  • List 3 ways you might be able to help hummingbirds and their habitat.

When you're done, learn more!

  • How to Help Hummingbirds and Their Habitats >>

What does he have to do with hummingbirds?
Looking at Data: The Long Journey (So Far)

Have you kept track of rubythroat first arrivals in each state? We have. It's time to start digging into the data! As you look at your own chart, or Journey North's Predictions and Results chart, see what you can learn:

  • Show the Data: Use a blank map to show some data from the chart. For instance, you could decide to color in the states that had first hummer arrivals in February with one color, March with another color, and so on.

  • Analyze the Data: What does your map tell you about the hummingbird migration? Pick one thing and write a couple of sentences. What questions does it raise?

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Spring Migration Route
Predictions and Results Chart >>
This Week's Hummingbird Resources

The Far-Flung Adventures of Homer the Hummer >> Beautiful illustrations and a delightful — and factual — tale of a rubythroat's Journey North.
  • Video Clip: A Hummingbird Tongue in Action! >> (May take a few minutes to load.)
  • Photo Observation: A Body Part That "Fits"! What Clues Do You See? >>
  • Slideshow: Make Way for Nesting: A Tale of Territories, Thieves, and Courtship >>
  • Tool: How Far? Measure the Distance with Google Maps! >>
  • Explore: How to Help Hummingbirds and Their Habitats >>
  • Lesson: Short-Distance and Long-Distance Migrants: Comparing Robins and Hummingbirds >>
  • Questions: Expert Answers to Your Hummingbird Questions >>
  • Study: Weather and Songbird Migration >>
  • Hummingbird Migration Journals (click-and-print) >>
More Hummingbird Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 23, 2009.