Hummingbird Update: February 29, 2012
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Just like clockwork, over the weekend the first migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds showed up on US soil. "Woo hoo! Here we go again..." exclaims Lanny Chambers. How can spotters distinguish a new migrant from a winter resident? When is the wind just right for a successful migration? Let's dig into these questions and more in this week's slideshow.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
by land or by sea?
Photo: Russ Thompson
By Land or By Sea?
News: Hummers are Coming!
"Woo hoo! Here we go again..." reported our Hummingbird Expert, Lanny Chambers, with the first rubythroat migration report for the spring season! Just like clockwork, starting last weekend the first migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds showed up in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Sighters with their feeders ready were rewarded with their first hungry visitors.

Get YOUR feeders ready today!

  • Check your feeder for any broken parts.
  • Scrub and wash the feeders in bleach and water to remove any bacteria.
  • Test the feeder for leaks by filling with water and hanging up.
first sightings
First rubys sighted!
Slideshow: An Amazing Rubythroat Journey!

As ruby-throated hummingbirds enter the United States from their wintering grounds, they usually appear first in the Gulf coast states. How do you think they get there?

For a long time, scientists wondered about the route the hummingbirds traveled. 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!

Explore: Winds and Migration
Watching the Winds
When will more migrants be arriving? Use wind weather maps to look for the perfect conditions to cross the Gulf of Mexico. Predict if it is a good day for the Gulf crossing, then watch the Journey North map for new sightings along the coastal area.
wind map
Wind Maps
Banding: Is that My Hummer?
"Every time I read of a sighting report on your site, I think 'maybe that one was mine!'" writes Lakeland, Florida bird lover Mary Boston.

"Where do our banded birds go in the summer?" she wonders. Watch for banded birds at your feeders this summer! Find out more:

after banding, marked by paint
Photo: Mary Boston
Is that my hummer?
Latest Maps: Migration has Started
Ruby-throated hummingbirds can fly 500 miles non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico. They typically fly about 25 miles per hour during migration. How long does the trip take?

Journal Page
Journal Page
ruby map ruby map ruby map
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
Report Your Sightings!
Male and Female Rubythroat male and female rufous collage
Other Species
The next Hummingbird Migration Update will be posted on March 6, 2012.