Arriving "Big Time"
March 31, 2017 By Mary Hosier

Migration continues bringing Ruby-throats into Missouri, Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina. Hummingbird adaptations for eating nectar allow them to fuel up along the way.

rufous in the pollen
This female Ruby-throat can stick her tongue out as far as her bill is long.

Leading Edge 36°N
Ruby-throats made progress north this week with the leading edge of the migration now at 36°N. With storms and rain in the central US, birds will be holed up and looking for flowers and feeders. Be ready for them.

"Watching your site, saw they were getting close. Put the feeders out yesterday and a male showed up this morning. He hung around for a couple hours hope'n he sticks around!"
Three Way, Tennessee on March 29th.

"Two Ruby Throated Hummers at my feeders at 4:00PM. First sighting in 2016 was March 31, and in 2015 was April 2."
Tunnel Hill, Georgia on March 28th.

"Hummer came in afternoon. Was so glad to see it! I have viburnum, red quince, red honeysuckle, and red azaleas blooming."
Hattieville, Arkansas on March 28th.

Rufous have made it north to 50°N! Strong southern winds along the Pacific Coast could send Rufous hummingbirds further north this week. Watch for the first sightings in Alaska.

"They are coming in now big time."
Carnation, Washington on March 28th.

Western Species
Reports of many new Black-chinned and Broad-tailed arrivals this week.

"Finally saw it today! A beautiful Broad-tailed male! One week earlier than last year."
Littleton, Colorado on March 28th.

NEXRAD and Migration
Migration and NEXRAD

Male and Female Rufous

Male Broad-tailed

Fueling Up
How can a hummingbird bring the sweet liquid nectar up into its mouth from deep inside flowers? Scientists used to think the tongue acted like a straw using capillary action to draw liquid up. Follow along to learn what really happens!
The Hummingbird's Amazing Tongue

Companion Resources

Hummingbirds: No Red Dye


Video (Plus)

Driving Question

As you observe them at flowers and feeders how does the tongue bring liquid into its mouth?

Report Your Sightings
Hummingbird Migration: What to Report

Hummingbird Migration Map: Ruby-throated Hummingbird Hummingbird Migration Map: Rufous Hummingbird
What to Report Ruby-throated
map | animation | sightings
map | animation | sightings
tnail of other species map Hummingbird Migration Map: Other Observations nectaring map
Other Species
map | animation | sightings
Other Observations
map | list
map | list
Next Update April 7, 2017