Migration Update: March 3, 2010
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Just like clockwork, last week the first migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds showed up on US soil. However, the weather could cause a stall in the migration until winds shift from north to south later in the week. Will the south winds bring with them the first big numbers of rubythroats? How do ruby-throated hummingbirds get here? Let's dig into these questions and explore your ideas.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

Photo: Russ Thompson
They're arriving . . . and they're hungry!

Highlights, Maps, and Questions

Highlights: North Winds Holding Back the Hummers?
Just like clockwork, last week the first migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds showed up in Texas and Florida. But the weather has now put a halt to migration. This is not a good time cross the Gulf of Mexico! Strong north winds are bearing down as a late-season cold front pushes into the southern U.S. Northerly winds are expected to continue all week.
However, watch for the winds to shift to the south later in the week. The first big push of ruby-throated hummingbirds should appear on the Gulf Coast soon after!

Take a minute to track the weather with these wind speed and direction maps. According to the maps, what day will winds shift to the south? If forecasts are right, it appears that the winds will blow the first new group of hummingbirds into Texas! Take a look:

Meanwhile first rufous hummingbirds sightings are popping up all along the west coast. Some are coming earlier, some later than normal.

Distribution Map



This Week's Map
Week-by-Week Animation

Handouts: Today's Hummingbird Map Questions
Rufous Questions               Rubythroat Questions
Journal: How Do Those Rubythroats Get Here?

As the first ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive, it is fun to imagine this tiny bird's amazing journey to get here. Take a look at the map and then tell us what you think! How did they get here?

Later, find out more in today's slideshow.

Journal Page handout

Explore: An Amazing Rubythroat Journey!

As ruby-throated hummingbirds enter the United States from their wintering grounds, they hit Louisiana, Texas, and other Gulf states first. How do you think they get there?

For a long time, scientists didn't know how rubythroats got from their wintering grounds in southern Mexico and Central America to the U.S. Gulf coast. Could these tiny creatures fly the 500 miles over the Gulf of Mexico with no food or rest? It hardly seemed possible. Find out more!

Now explain this amazing journey in your journal, and to family and friends.

Slideshow    Booklet
Student Handout

Getting Started: This Week's Hummingbird Resources

What will the weather bring to the Gulf coast this week?
Take a Look
More Hummingbird Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on March 10, 2010.