Hummingbird Migration Update: April 23, 2009

Today's Report Includes:

Please Report
Your Sightings! >>

Where has this hummer been? What clues do you see? >>

Photo: Richard Mittleman
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 >

Highlights: Rubythroats Reach Canada! Rufies Taking a Turn
"A very vocal hummingbird told me to fill my feeder!" writes a ninth grade Journey North observer. "Just after storms and high wind had passed through the area, we spotted our first rubythroat," says another.

Rubythroats filled the skies this past week. After a long journey, the first few appear to have reached Canada! Can you find the latitude of the most northern sighting? They also landed in two new Midwest and two New England states. How accurate were your predictions about where rubythroats would arrive, and when? (Check them against our 2009 arrival chart: >>)

Fickle weather brought loads of reports on some days (April 18, for instance) and fewer on other days (the 21st). Curious? See what you can infer from these weather maps:

  • This Week's Weather and the Rubythroat Migration >>

Meanwhile, the first wave of females that have already mated are doing what comes naturally. Watch this week's slideshow to find out how they gear up for baby hummers!

These Alaskan students wonder when they'll see their hummer >>
While some rufous hummingbirds buzzed all the way to Alaska, another batch has headed east. A few even arrived in Idaho! Check out this week's Map Puzzle to discover what awaits them there.

Remember to keep looking for your hummingbirds. When do you usually see them? You can find your past sightings in our historic records. Very warm temperatures in the next few days should help hummer food sources spring forth! And light winds will make for good flying weather.
  • See what citizen scientists along migration route are saying. >>
Map Puzzle: Where Are These Birds Headed?
Why are some hummers wandering east? >>

This month, some rufous hummingbirds seem to be changing their migration route. Were they blown off course, or is something else at work? Look more closely at this map, then try to figure out what's happening!

  • Rufous Hummingbirds Heading Inland? >>
Journal: Imagine Building the Perfect Nest

Some hummingbirds are still traveling north, but others have arrived in places where they'll breed. Once they've mated, the females will busily begin building nests.

How do they prepare for this important stage of their annual cycles? Imagine you are a hummer. Make a list of what you might need for a safe and secure nest. How might you build one?

  • Write your thoughts on this hummingbird journal page >>.
  • Next, watch this week's slideshow.

Why did this hummer choose a cattail? >>

Photo: Ed Robertson
Slideshow: Mama Hummers' Nest-building Secrets

Slideshow / PDF Booklet

Many hummers are still making the long Journey North. But the females that already arrived and mated have big plans. Their instinct tells them to build nests that are cushy, waterproof, and stronger than steel! What are their secrets? Read on . . .

  • Slideshow: Building a Hummingbird Nest: Strong, Soft, and Stretchy >>
  • Handout >>
This Week's Hummingbird Resources

Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems >>
  • JN for Kids Photo Studies: Stunning hummingbird photos and video clips along with observation questions >>
  • Slideshow: Building a Hummingbird Nest — Soft, Strong, and Stretchy >>
  • Your Past Sightings: Journey North's Historic Records >>
  • Tips: How to Help Hummingbirds and Their Habitat >>
  • Link: Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center >>
  • Hummingbird Migration Journals (click-and-print) >>
  • Children's Books We Like: Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems (See link, right)
More Hummingbird Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 30, 2009.