Migration Update: April 6, 2011
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Spring weather has brought the rufous migration to a standstill, or has it? We explore now rain and snow in the Northwest affect rufous sighting reports. Rubythroat migration steady. How are hummingbirds mouthparts unique and how are they adapted to certain flowers. Compare two migrants, monarchs and hummers and find out how they fuel up.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
hummer drinking
Photo:Russ Thompson

Hummingbird adaptations:

Let's take a look

Highlights, Maps, and Questions

Spring rains and storms highlight the past week's weather maps. Hummers tend to 'hunker down' or 'fall out' of the skies when weather slows down their migrations. This is a great time to see the first hummingbird arrive at your feeder. "I saw male rubythroat feeding from window feeder for first time this morning. Rain storm came through Baton Rouge last night,
" writes a hummer spotter in Louisiana.

In Alabama, "Ruby-throated hummingbird spotted flying by looking for the usual place of our hummingbird feeder just following heavy local storms."

Rufous hummingbirds are tough, but the weather in the Pacific Northwest has been less than spring-like. "Finally! A male and a female arrived today. It snowed yesterday and the red flowering currant flowers are just starting show, so it looks like things are a bit late this year," reports a spotter in Zigzag, Oregon.

Rubies Continue Northward
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are steadily moving northward as you can see on this week's map. Check to see which new states you can add to your Spring Prediction Chart.

The rufous migration has come to a standstill this week. Sighting reports are backed up with no further advancement north. In Washington state one spotter is rewarded with a sighting. Finally. "This is the latest date of arrival since I've been reporting his arrival," writes Bonnie in Husum, Washington.

Finally, this report from an exhuberant reporter in Augusta, Georgia,"6:15 P.M. MACHO MALE, younger male and a female ruby---at least--maybe more!! They're ba-a-a-c-k!! HOOOOORAY!!"

Map Questions
This week brought no rufous sighting reports north of 49.8N. How do we explain this phenomenon? Take a good look at last week's weather maps and we will explore some of the possibilities!

weather map

Rufous hummingbird migration map


Ruby-throated hummingbird migration map
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated hummingbird migration map
All Other Hummingbird Species

Explore: Flower-Powered Migratory Species

We've seen the amazing mouthparts of the hummingbird and how they are specialized to allow the bird to drink nectar from flowers and feeders. Let's explore this further and compare the hummingbird with another spring migrant, the monarch butterfly. Both these species feed on high-energy flower nectar.

Explore the flowers each species prefers and then think about adaptations that you think makes each animal a good "fit" for the flowers.

Finally we'll journal about what we learned.

hummer flowerHow do hummers and monarchs choose their nectar?Venn Diagram
Use a Venn Diagram to compare.

Getting Started: This Week's Hummingbird Resources
violet-crowned hummer
Look who we found! A Violet-crowned hummingbird. Where might you see one?
More Hummingbird Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on April 13, 2011.