First Arrivals!

March 1, 2018 by Mary Hosier

Perfect tailwinds are carrying the first migrating Ruby-throated hummingbirds to Florida this week.

Male Ruby-throat in sparkling and bright breeding plumage.

The first migrant Ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive in the United States along the Gulf States. What routes do they take? Watch the Gulf region as winds bring pulses of birds across from Mexico in coming weeks. 

First Sightings

Perfect winds carried the first migrating Ruby-throated hummingbirds to Florida this week.

Chief land, Florida: “First seen!” Reported on February 28.

Ormond Beach, Florida: “This is the first hummer I’ve actually seen. I’m on my second feeder filling so SOMEBODY with dirty feet has been eating, not just the bees. I’d say they must have started passing through at least two to three weeks ago.” Reported on February 24.

Watch for Males

Most first sightings of hummingbirds are males. Along the Gulf Coast, where some Ruby-throats overwinter, hummingbird bander Nancy Newfield describes how she can tell whether an early bird is a true migrant.

“Sparkling and bright” is how Nancy describes the plumage of a migrant male in late winter or early spring. ”Wintering adult males are still molting. Their wing, tail, and contour feathers will be quite dull by comparison.”

Western Species

Several hummingbird species have been reported including overwintering Anna’s and Calliopes. 

Predicting Ruby-throat Arrival