Tracking Begins

August 22, 2017 by Rita Welch

Hummingbirds are fueling up and heading off to their wintering grounds. Join us as we track their migration. Report your sightings now — and continue to report weekly as long as hummingbirds are present.

Feeding intensely on nectar, hummingbirds double their weight as they prepare to fly hundreds or even thousands of miles. Image by Sandra Dobbs

Time to Go!
Hummingbirds migrate by instinct. Fewer hours of daylight trigger hormonal changes that cause the urge to fuel up and fly south. In response to these seasonal changes, your backyard hummers will leave while nectar-rich flowers are still in bloom and feeders are full. Males leave first, as early as mid-July. Females follow, and then the juveniles who migrate for the first time all alone.

Dawn to Dusk
Watch hummingbirds go on a feeding frenzy before leaving the breeding grounds. They will feed often and intensely for days in a state called hyperphagia. Hummers start feeding as early as forty-five minutes before sunrise and keep eating until dusk.