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Overview: The Annual Cycle of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird
January February March April May June
July August September October November December

August: Peak Migration
August brings the biggest push south, and hummingbirds are gathering in huge numbers along the Gulf of Mexico. By August you may see no males at your feeders. Juvenile Rubythroats look so much like their mothers that most of us can't tell the difference. The babies have no memory of past migrations. They do not migrate with a parent. They just follow their urge to put on a lot of weight, fly in a southerly direction for a certain amount of time, and find a good place to spend winter. Hummingbirds migrate at the time when their food is most plentiful, and they leave when they are fat enough. Some follow the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. Many—but not all—fly 500 miles nonstop across the water to Mexico and other Central American countries. It's a mystery how individual birds make the decision.

Rubythroated Hummingbirds

Image: Harlen E. Aschen

 

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