Track Hummingbird Migration

 

The First Month of the New Year

In northern latitudes, January brings colder temperatures and snow. While hummingbirds are some of the world’s smallest birds, they have evolved amazing survival mechanisms, including an energy-conserving strategy called torpor. But winter survival in northern regions can be challenging. In areas where hummingbirds remain during January, keep your feeders clean and warm. If you are awaiting the spring thaw, start planning your bird-friendly landscape with a pollinator garden full of nectar-rich flowers. Follow this link to the Pollinator Partnership planting guides>> 

Spring Migration Just Around the Corner

Longer hours of daylight will soon trigger hormonal changes in hummingbirds that cause an urge to fuel up and fly north. Most hummingbird species that breed in the U.S. and Canada winter in Mexico and Central America. Spring migration usually starts to pick up in late February with peak migration in March and April. Adult male hummingbirds are the first to migrate north to establish ideal breeding territories. Adult females are next. Hummingbirds must find blooming flowers all along migration pathways. Hummingbird migration is a stop-and-go journey. Spring gardens and hummingbird feeders provide critical refueling stations along migration pathways. 

Stay vigilant for early first spring migrating hummingbirds. Watch Journey North maps to learn where hummingbirds are being observed.  

What to Report

1. Spring First-To-Arrive 

Let us know when you see your first spring hummingbirds arrive to your area. Using your best judgement, these first spring arrivals should be migrants from non-breeding areas and not reports of resident hummingbirds.  

—> If you observe either a first spring Ruby-throated or a Rufous Hummingbird migrant, please report using either these reporting categories: 

  • Hummingbird, Ruby-throat (FIRST)
  • Hummingbird, Ruby-throat (FIRST)

—> For first observations of Anna’s, Broad-Tailed, Black-chinned, Calliope, and Costa’s Hummingbirds, please use report category:

  • Hummingbird, Other Species Sighted *

*In your comments, please note species name (Anna’s, Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, Calliope, and Costa’s) and female/male if known. Also, please note that the report is a first spring arrival observation.

Try to catch the vibrant orange, red, and green colors of the hummingbirds with your cameras and smartphones. These photos provide a voucher for your observation.

2. All other observations 

You should only report one first spring arrival for each hummingbird species observed. All other observations, including observations of resident hummingbirds, should be reported using these two reporting categories:

  • Hummingbird Sighting
  • Hummingbird, Other Species Sighted

If you know the species name, please report this information in the comment section. Try to take a picture of the hummingbird(s) with your camera and smartphone. Photos provide a voucher for your observation.

3. Nectar Sources Along Migration Trail

As hummingbirds travel north, they must find places to rest and refuel along the way. Make sure to plant nectar-rich plants and keep your feeders clean. Tell us about the natural sources of nectar hummingbirds are finding at your location and how late into the season they are available. Photos welcome. Please use this reporting category: 

  • Hummingbird, Nectaring From Flowers
4. Interesting Behaviors

As hummingbirds travel north, they may exhibit interesting behaviors. Tell us what you are observing using the reporting category:

  • Hummingbird, Other Observations

And don’t forget to submit photos and species names if known. 

Migration News Spring 2022

Watch the season’s story unfold.