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When ruby-throated hummingbirds return to nest in the U.S. and Canada this spring, they will have just completed a remarkable round trip journey to Mexico & Central America and back! You can plot the hummingbirds' return journey and learn what it takes for these - and other species of "neotropical" migrants - to successfully complete this amazing trip.
For a second year, we will also track a western hummer: the Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus). This species over-winters primarily in Mexico and many travel all the way to Alaska to breed, the most northerly of any hummingbird. Watch for this hummingbird if you live in northern California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Montana, Alberta, British Columbia or southeast Alaska.
Unpave the Way for Hummingbirds
When Migration Begins--What to Report to
As soon as you place your hummingbird feeder outside, report to Journey North. Now you're ready to watch for your first hummers!
2. Report the FIRST Hummingbird you see this spring.
Let us know when your Hummingbird safely arrives after the long migration from Central America.
3. Report "leaf-out" of your trees.
Here's why: For many songbird species, the timing of spring migration may be related to leaf-out. This is because when leaves emerge, so do lots of insects. Songbirds may fuel their migration by following the leaf-out, and eating the millions of insects available at that time. With your help, we'd like to test whether these spring events are inter-related.
Neotropical Migratory Songbird Project
The Journey North project tracks the migration of 4 species of Neotropical migratory songbirds: Ruby-throated and rufous hummingbirds, and Baltimore and Bullock's orioles. Neotropical migrants are birds that breed in North America and winter south of the U.S. border. An amazing 333 bird species migrate according to this pattern. As the habitat along their long trail is broken into fragments, people are noticing a significant decline in the number of songbirds that return each spring. Students will meet members of an international network of scientists and conservation professionals who have united to preserve songbird habitat and they'll discover imaginative conservation strategies at work.
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