Migration Update: May 16, 2012
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
The rubythroat migration is now advancing into its northern reaches. After long travels, these birds are just now reaching their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. It's time to celebrate! Kids share their scientific drawings. A photographer shares the day-to-day images of tiny eggs and miniature babies. Let us know what you think; fill out our Annual Evaluation.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week
Credit: Sagamore Hills Elem.
What Scientists Do
News: Hummer Sighting News
Migration Advances to Northern Reaches
As our days lengthen in the Northern Hemisphere our migrating hummingbirds are arriving on their most northern breeding grounds. From Miramichi, New Brunswick (47.03, -65.18) to Langham, Saskatchewan (52.37, -106.97) ruby-throated sightings are arriving.

Laurie from Glen Haven, Nova Scotia shared, “They put a bright spot in each day even if you just get a glimpse of them. For me they complete Spring.”

On Schedule, or Not?

  • A spotter from Authurette, New Brunswick, writes, "Exactly a year to the date from last year that the first little guy showed up at my feeder(s). A similar story was also reported this week from Sioux Lookout, Ontario, "Male ruby-throated returned this morning—right on time according to our records."
  • Pleasant Point, Nova Scotia, reports, "We've had the feeder out since that extraordinary warm spell in March. With all the talk of an early migration we are surprised to only see the first Ruby-throated Hummer today, 5 days later than last year."

Seasons Change and So Do Hummers

  • From Cooper, Maine, "Today I saw a male "looping" for the female." (Read about this courtship behavior.)
  • In Bellingham, Washington, John Doerper observes a transition from winter Anna’s hummers (male and female)  to a mix of resident and visitor hummingbirds.
  • In Spokane, Washington a rufous was sighted checking out the six feeders, "I watched him and a male Calliope over feeder rights...they're so fast!"
  • Saskatoon, Manitoba spotters see their first ruby this week just as the school's tulips are finishing their bloom.
Photo: Robert Pearson
Caught in flight
tulips and hummers
Tulips bloom and first hummers arrive in Saskatoon, Manitoba last week
courtship display
"Looping" courtship behavior.
Study: Three Weeks in a Nest
Come visit a hummingbird nest as the babies are born and grow. Each photograph in the series uses a question and answer format. You will learn a lot about hummingbird nest behavior.


Teachers: The hummingbird migrations are wrapping up in the next few weeks! What have we learned? Consider some assessment tools.

Explore: Scientific Observation
"How do I remember what the hummers look like?"

Scientists observe, question, and learn more. Third grade students in Atlanta, Georgia took the time to really look at the physical details of the ruby-throated and rufous hummingbird species. Their teacher challenged them: What shapes are in their bodies? What colors are their feathers? What questions do you have?

Enjoy their class field guide to ruby and rufous hummers.

Field Guide
Latest Maps
Imagine how far the northern birds sighted this week have traveled since they left their winter homes in Central America and Mexico. Some of these birds are just now reaching their breeding grounds in Canada and Alaska. It is hard to believe such a small bird is capable of this long migration. Celebrate the advances the birds have made this week as you study the maps. journal
Journal Page
ruby map ruby map ruby map
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts
Please take a few minutes to complete our Annual Evaluation. We welcome your feedback!

Journey North Annual Evaluation
The next Hummingbird migration update will be posted on May 23, 2012.