Other than their small sizes, the hummingbirds travel hundreds and thousands of miles depending upon different seasons. As we know, there are a lot of species of hummingbirds, but only a few of them migrate regularly. When we talk about the hummingbird species in North America, they usually migrate between northern and southern grounds depending upon the season. As compared to many other birds, they don’t travel in groups. The Hummingbirds visit individually and stay low in the air. During their migration, the hummingbirds are also searching for any opportunity of feeding and resting. Usually, hummingbirds travel during the day and rest on nights.
The Hummingbird heartbeat during the migration is around 1260 times per minute, and their wings flapping speed is 15 to 80 times per seconds, so if they found any feeding opportunity during their migration, they get the advantage of that as we know all the birds need some energy after the small periods. During their movement, the Hummingbirds don’t stay at any feeder for more than 1 or 2 days. They can vary their speed according to the environment during their migration. Mostly the Hummingbirds fly over the same tracks in their life. Hummingbirds can travel around 23 miles per day.
When the Hummingbirds Migrate?
Many factors affect Hummingbird migration from one place to another. The timing of the bird’s migration mostly depends upon the daylight timing and the position of the sun relative to the Hummingbird position. The Hummingbirds generally observe the timing of their migration and change itself according to that. The Hummingbirds gain 20 to 40 percent extra weight before the migration to maintain their energy level during the long flight. The other factors that affect Hummingbird migration are:-
1. Natural Food sources:
This is the main factor which affects the hummingbird migration. When we talk about natural food, there are two main foods for hummingbirds, the first one is nectar from the flowers, and the second one is insects. Especially in the spring season, when a lot of insects are available, the Hummingbirds gain a lot of energy from them for rapid growth.
2. Weather conditions:
Weather conditions also affect Hummingbirds migration. When the weather is not good and massive storm or rain in their way, their migration can be delayed by one or more days, depending upon the weather. Fall and spring bad weather can affect differently to the Hummingbirds. Maybe in the fall bad weather, the hummingbird Waite for good weather by staying in the safe location for a week or more, but in spring, the Hummingbirds may catch in bird’s fallout.
3. Age of Hummingbird:
Age can also affect Hummingbirds migration. The mature Hummingbirds usually start their migration early as compared to others. But the young Hummingbirds are not as strong as mature, so they take some time to build their energy.
4. Hummingbird Gender:
The male Hummingbirds usually migrate earlier as compared to females. In both seasons, the male migrates first as compared to females. The males migrate soon to build the territories before the arrival of females.
5. Migration Distance:
Migration time somehow depends upon the distance as well. When the birds need to cover a long distance, they start their journey earlier. The Hummingbird starts their fall migration at the start of July as compared to other species that start their journey in august.
Hummingbird Species in North America
There are around 300 different species of Hummingbirds, but when we talk about North America, the main species are Rufous, Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Ruby-throated. But these areas can be varying depending upon different factors like weather conditions and other factors, as discussed above. But it is observed that some species are frequently found in the same areas throughout their life span. Let’s talk about some common species in North America.
1. Rufous Hummingbirds:
When we talk about the Rufous Hummingbirds, they breed farther north as compared to any other Hummingbird. They also breed in Southeastern Alaska. They are seeing in different areas during different seasons. Their spring, usually in California, they choose Alaska and Northwest for the summer season and the Rocky Mountains for the fall season. When we talk about the non-breeding months of Rufous Hummingbirds, they spend this non-breeding winter season in wooded areas like the state of Guerrero. The Rufous Hummingbirds made clockwise rotation along with North America each year.
2. Anna’s Hummingbirds:
Anna’s Hummingbird is the second most common species found in North America. The most common breeding areas for Anna’s Hummingbirds are Vancouver, Canada, Baja California, and Southern regions. In the winter season, Anna’s Hummingbird mostly stays in those areas where no other Hummingbirds present. In the winter season, Anna’s Hummingbirds usually gain weight. The Hummingbirds which store their fat can survive during the sub-freezing period of weather.
3. Costas Hummingbirds:
The Costas Hummingbirds are closely related to Anna’s Hummingbirds and Known as the Desert Birds of North America. But sometimes they also travel the Alaska and Canada. The most common breeding areas of Costas Hummingbirds are the Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert, San Joaquin Desert, and the San Joaquin Valley of California. The winter areas for the Costas are southern California and Mexico.
4. Allen’s Hummingbirds:
The Allen’s Hummingbird winter usually spend in Southern Mexico, and in late winter, they also travel the pacific Coast. In late summer, Allen’s Hummingbirds are move south through the mountains. When we talk about the nesting of Allen’s Hummingbirds, they have a particular range about that and usually nesting in California.
5. Black-chinned Hummingbirds:
The Black-chinned Hummingbirds usually spend their summer and spring season in Northern California, Arizona, and Texas. Here they are spotted in large numbers as compared to any other place. For the winter season, they usually migrate to Southern California, Arizona, and Texas.
6. Calliope Hummingbirds:
The most common breeding locations for Calliope Hummingbirds are high elevations like a mountain of the Northwestern United States and Canada into Alaska. When we talk about their summer and spring migration, they found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Northern Mexico. During the winter season, they found in Southwestern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize.
7. Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds:
The Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds migrate to North America during the spring season. Males reach Southern Arizona in February and Northern Arizona in early April, Colorado, in late April or early May.
After breeding, the Broad-Hummingbirds move to the south in the winter season.
Hummingbird Migration depending upon the season
Hummingbirds travel different areas of North America and southern America depending upon the season. Let’s see the different season Migration of Hummingbirds.
1. Hummingbird Spring Migration:
Usually, the male Hummingbirds arrived first in North America during the spring season and made the territories for females. These first arrival Hummingbirds arrived in February. But in some deep northern areas, the Hummingbird doesn’t arrive until March and April. The Hummingbird’s arrival and backdates depends upon the weather and other factors.
2. Hummingbird Fall Migration:
In August and September, the Hummingbirds are move in the southern areas of America. Especially in August, we can see the 10 to 20 Hummingbirds on feeder during the migration. During the early days of September, there is a peak number of Hummingbirds seen on feeders. Sometimes two mixed species are also observed, especially the Rufous and Ruby-throat Hummingbirds. Ruby-throat Hummingbirds gather in South Texas cast during September for their final preparation to migrate in Southern America. While the other species travel through Central America.
3. Hummingbird Winter Migration:
During the winter Migration, many Hummingbirds can be found on the feeders of South Texas and South Louisiana. There are several species like Ruby-throat, Rufous, Black-chinned, Buff-Bellied, Calliope, Broad-Tailed, Broad-Billed, and Anna’s found in winter. Some species of Hummingbirds stay in the warmer regions of the United States for around a year.
4. Reporting the Hummingbird Sightings:
When you see the Hummingbirds in your area, try to observe them and report accordingly so an exact map of their migration can be made. Hummingbird usually travels in the morning and evening, but when the distance is large, they travel the whole day. You can observe the following things to judge the stage of the Hummingbird Migration Period.
Try to observe the color; usually, the brightest color Hummingbirds are male. The male Hummingbirds start their migration first. If you see males in your areas, it means it’s the start of Hummingbird Migration.
The second wave of Migration is Females and kids. They all look alike, so it’s difficult to distinguish between females and kids.
How to Help the Migrating Hummingbirds?
The Birders can help the Migrating Hummingbirds in different ways, but the most common way is to feed hummingbirds because Hummingbirds need a lot of energy during the migration. Some people think that feeding can prevent Hummingbirds form Migrating. But generally, it’s not true at all, although many people put their feeders early in the spring and don’t remove them until the late fall. There are some other ways as well to help the Hummingbirds during the migration.
We can help the Hummingbirds by planting, which provide the Hummingbirds with natural nectar. Try to plant all the flowers which bloom throughout the spring and fall to offer continuous natural nectar to Hummingbirds.
You can make artificial shelters or provide them the nesting material so the Hummingbirds can easily make their nests.
3. Feeder cleaning and caring:
When you are using the feeders to feed the Hummingbirds, you need to keep clean the feeder to prevent the Hummingbirds from any health issues. Try to provide the fresh nectar to Hummingbirds. During the late fall season, try to prevent your nectar from freezing. Try to prevent the nectar from bees and insects.
Some commonly asked Questions:
1. When should the feeders are taken down?
Don’t down your feeders quickly, may some migrating Hummingbirds are late and in search of some stop-over meal. We recommend using the feeder till the autumn. When you think all the Hummingbirds are migrated, still put your Hummingbird feeder up for two weeks.
2. How much distance can a Hummingbird cover in a day?
Different species of Hummingbird travel at different speeds. When we talk about the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, they travel 500 miles in a day. Some people think that these small birds travel this distance over the back of other birds, but it’s just a myth; they travel all this distance on its own.
3. Do the Hummingbirds die from the dirty feeders?
Sometimes the fungus infections cause severe problems for the Hummingbirds health. This infection causes the issue for their tongue, due to which the Hummingbirds can’t eat. The Hummingbirds move towards the slow and painful death due to starvation.
4. What happens if the Hummingbirds stop flying?
Some people think that the Hummingbirds will die if they don’t fly. But it’s not true. Usually, people don’t know about the feet of Hummingbirds. They think the Hummingbirds only have wings to move. We can adopt the Hummingbird and help him to fly again.
5. Where did Hummingbirds go at night?
The Hummingbirds travel the whole day during the migration, and they need some rest on nights. For testing purposes, they found a tree and latch on to a tree branch with their small feet and go to sleep.