Migration Update: April 28, 2010
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Rufous hummingbirds are on the move into western Montana this week. One rufous even has a name; he's called "Glitterpants." Storms and rain caused a "fall out," and 89 new rubythroat sightings reported. High speed cameras allow us to learn new things about hummingbirds. A "Nature" video shows how. And what do you want to know about the hummingbird nesting cycle? Plug in to this important part of the hummingbird's life cycle.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

What's going on here?

Explore more!

Highlights, Maps, and Questions

Highlights: Hummers Reaching New Territory!
Rufous hummers were pushing further eastward this week with 3 sightings in western Montana, including for one rufous named, "Glitterpants!" The rufous hummers in Missoula must be headed northward up the Flathead valley. Spotters in Polson (at the southern end of the Flathead Valley) might have seen Glitterpants 2 days later when they reported their first hummer.

Eighty-nine spotters reported seeing their first rubythroat this past week, including 2 in New Brunswick. There wasn't a big push northward, however. Visit the map to see how most of the new rubythroat sightings were stacked up among earlier sighting locations. Why? Storms and heavy rains drenched much of the breeding grounds this past week. Hummers stayed put.

As weather clears, watch for the next push north and west.

Storms and heavy rain 04/ 25
Storms, rain and cold gave birds in northern areas some freezing nighttime temperatures. Can they handle this kind of cold? Discover some of their secrets here!
From 2 to 10 Feeders
One enthusiastic New Jersey observer was rewarded, "Had 2 feeders out for weeks. Increased feeders daily and had 10 out when the ruby bird showed this morning. A female - one fast drink and gone."

Which Hummer is Which?
An Oregon reporter sent this comment, "Dueling Rufous hummers are fencing with rubythroats at the feeder." What do you think? Did you guess that the viewer has their hummingbird species mixed up? We know that Oregon isn't included in the rubythroat hummingbird breeding range. However, there are 8 species of hummingbirds found in Oregon. We think they might have mistaken a broad-tailed hummer for a rubythroat. Next week we'll explore the various hummingbird species found in the Americas.

Are you keeping track on your prediction chart? This week we can add New Brunswick to the chart.

Distribution Map



This Week's Map
Week-by-Week Animation

Handouts: Today's Hummingbird Map Questions
Rufous Questions               Rubythroat Questions

High Speed Photography and Nature's "Super Heroes"

"We think hummingbirds are these delicate, fragile little birds, but that's not true at all," reports filmmaker, Ann Prum. Science and technology have come together in a new way to help us get to know hummingbirds like never before.

Working with hummingbird scientists, Ms. Prum's cameras were able to slow down movements of the speedy little bird so we can learn more about their behavior. "I think hummingbirds are nature's super heroes," writes Ms. Prum.

Set aside 9 minutes to view this video. As you watch, look for clues that support her statement about super heroes.

Why you think hummers might be called "super heroes." Use your journals to write your thoughts.

View the full episode from the Nature series: Hummingbirds: Magic in the Air

Filmmaker Ann Johnson Prum in the laboratory

Specialized camera photographs hummers from a flower's "eye view."
Explore: Nesting Phenology of Hummingbirds

It's nesting season! As hummingbirds are arriving across their breeding range let's explore and learn about their nesting cycle.

What questions do you have about their nesting cycle?

  • Use this concept chart to organize your questions about each stage of the cycle. Then take our research challenge!

Dig into hummingbird materials!
Collect fascinating facts about the hummingbird's nesting cycle. Then share your writing project with others. Use the links below to get started:

Concept Chart

Year-end Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts

Will you take a few minutes to complete our Year-end Evaluation? With your help, we can we document Journey North's reach, impact and value. We need comments like yours to keep the program going and growing.

Getting Started: This Week's Hummingbird Resources

Bath Time!
Hummers take baths, too
More Hummingbird Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on May 5, 2010.