On the morning of April 1st, 2014, Celeste Moore found a dead ruby-throated hummingbird in her garage in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This sighting was 385 miles north of the leading edge of the migration, and over a month earlier than hummingbirds are expected there.
"We know that it had to have arrived during a storm yesterday," she wrote. "When Alberta Clippers push down here to the Dakotas they come fast in the form of blizzards."
March 31st started out as a warm spring day with temperatures in the low 60's. A storm was forecast and by late afternoon winds were gusting to 45 mph. The temperature dropped rapidly into the teens by the morning of April 1st.
"We found the hummingbird on the stair landing inside the garage," she reports. "It was laying next to a wall to the house, the warmest location since the garage is not heated. Directly above there is an exterior roof vent that would have allowed the hummingbird to get into the garage. Other small birds have done so in the past."
In the event that other hummingbirds were also blown there with the storm, she put two feeders out; hanging them in her garage overnight.
"It's too early for hummingbirds here. We have been feeding hummingbirds for several years now, and know they shouldn't arrive in until early May. We are expecting another snow storm Thursday afternoon through Friday morning."
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
April 1, 2014