July: Preparing for Migration
July is busy on the breeding grounds. Males are putting on the fat. Fewer hours of sunlight trigger the urge to migrate as fall approaches, and males leave first. Some will start migration in mid-July. Hummingbirds migrate at the time when their food is most plentiful, and they can more than double their weight before migration. By leaving first, males are ensuring more insects and nectar available for the babies. Early migrants spread out the migration, resulting in less food competition along the route. Meanwhile, the females, busy with babies, don't need to search for food. Flowers and insects are still abundant. The nestlings' feathers are growing, and the adults are keeping their feathers cared for because they'll be migrating with these same feathers.
Image: Michele Polimine