Migration Update: April 4, 2012
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Your Sightings!
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Spring weather seems to have brought the rufous migration to a standstill, or has it? The rubythroat migration has stabilized and most hummers are arriving on schedule. Share a piece of rufous sighting history. Expert Lanny Chambers gives us answers to our questions that you won't want to miss!

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
dates of arrival
Credit: Linda Zielinski
Discovering History
News: Migration Back to Normal
After the very unusual weather this spring things are looking back to normal. The east had several weeks of very warm temperatures, with strong southerly winds, and spotters reported historic early sightings. Feeders throughout the northern US went up with hopes of providing any early migrants with fuel to survive the cool nights.

We asked Mr. Chambers for his thoughts about the rest of the migration season. Here is what he said:

"My guess is that the bulk of the population will reach their destinations at about the same time they always do, regardless of the weather. As I write this in late March, I'm getting a lot of reports from Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, which is just what I'd expect in a normal year."

Rufous hummingbird first sightings clustered on and around Vancover Island. Late March brought snow to the mountains and lots of rain to the region. Rufous migration seems at a stand still this week.

Lanny Chambers
Compare Migrations: Ruby-throated Hummers and Monarchs
Ruby-throated hummingbirds and monarchs are both migrating north right now. How much do you know about each species? Which species migrates north more quickly? What makes the migrations different?

Compare and contrast the two species. Then use the Journal page to record what you learned.

chart for comparison
Compare Two Migrations
Explore: Oregon Rufous Sighting Data

We've taken the "first rufous sighting" dates that were penciled onto the shed wall and put them into a line graph. Study the graph and find:

  • earliest first sighting date
  • latest first sighting date
  • this year's first sighting date

Then, write a summary of the data.

graph of first sightings
Willamette Valley
First Sightings
FAQ: Answers from the Hummingbird Expert
Have you ever wondered:

  • What will happen to those early migrants in the north when they have a cold snap?
  • Why so few hummers are being sighted in Kentucky?
  • Who are the #1 and #2 predators of hummers?

See: Answers from the Hummingbird Expert
Teaching Suggestions: Learning from Experts

Special thanks to Lanny Chambers for sharing his time and expertise again this year to answer readers' questions.

Lanny Chambers

Hummingbird Expert


Latest Maps

After a very warm March in the east, weather has returned to more normal patterns. You will notice that sighting reports are coming in from states where they are usually expected in early April. More rains have fallen in the Pacific Northwest breaking records in some places.

  • Is habitat ready for migrating hummers? Study some maps in today's Journal.
journal page
ruby map ruby map ruby map
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
The next monarch migration update will be posted on April 11, 2012.