Migration Update: May 4, 2011
Please Report
Your Sightings!

A warm air mass on the East Coast was in place for nearly one week sending hummers northward ahead of schedule. How will this affect your migration predictions? Explore weather patterns and study migration animations. Find out what some people have called, "the tiniest hummingbird ever seen." Don't forget the Annual Evaluation!

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Mystery animal
Mystery Creature
How do you know it is not a hummer?

Highlights, Maps, and Questions

Highlights: Northward Surge

The surge in ruby-throated hummingbird sightings in the past week brought sighting reports too numerous to count. The warm air mass along the East Coast acted to push the migration northward. Many sighters reported FOY (first sightings) up to a week earlier than normal.

Norwich, VT: "We were surprised late this afternoon! We spotted our first Ruby Throated Hummingbird around 5PM, May Day." Average date for FOY in Norwich, over past 6 years is May 6.

temps 04/27/11
Early warm air mass
Red = 70-90°F
April 27, 2011

Hummingbirds took advantage of the winds from the south. Be sure to study this week's maps to see this migration in full swing. Reports continue to flood in as far north as Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

"One male ruby throated hummingbird spotted after a very strong wind from the south. He came to our feeder that I put out April 23." Whitewater, Wisconsin 05/01/11.

Rufous Hummingbirds Reach Montana
First rufous sighting was at Columbia Falls, Montana 05/03/11. Note the pattern of past week's sightings. No new rufous sightings were reported along the Alaskan panhandle.

Better late than never. Western states reported rain, hail, and snow last week, but hardy rufous hummers still showed up.

"We saw a beautiful male Rufous early this afternoon. We usually have hummingbirds much eariler." Yakima, Washington 05/01/11

rufous move east
Notice a pattern to the Rufous sighting reports this past week?

Other Hummer Species News
A non-sighting report came in from San Clemente, California. "This is actually about a non-sighting. After having between 25-50 hummingbirds consistently, the past month has been so quiet! I haven't counted more than 6-8 birds at a time. I've also noticed the scarcity of bees around the feeders. Usually by now they're clustering around one of the feeders. Everything is in bloom, the weather is beautiful, so I don't know what's happening!" 05/02/11

This Week's Maps
Get out your Hummingbird Journals and explore the maps this week. Each map has a large-sized week-to-week animation. Click below each map to see the migrations from a different perspective. After studying the animated maps write 3 things you notice, and 3 questions.

Rufous hummingbird migration map


Ruby-throated hummingbird migration map
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Ruby-throated hummingbird migration map
All Other Hummingbird Species

  • Today's Hummingbird Map Questions Handout
Journal: Nest Pictures Tell Story

What can you discover when you visit a rufous nest stuffed with two nestlings? Use your observation skills!

nest with mama bird Photo: Damon Calderwood
What's Happening Here?

Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts
Will you take a few minutes to complete our Annual 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.
annual evaluation
Getting Started: This Week's Hummingbird Resources
hummer nest
Photo: Alek Komarnitsky
Dinner anyone?
More Hummingbird Lessons and Teaching Ideas!

The Next Hummingbird Migration Update Will Be Posted on May 11, 2011.