Time To Fuel Up

August 30, 2022 by Team Journey North

Hummingbird migration has begun. Watch for adult male hummingbirds as they fuel up and pass through on their journey south. Report your observations to Journey North.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird takes a quick sip from a shrimp plant flower. Photo: Ken in Baton Rouge, LA (08/22/2022)

Hummingbirds Busy Fueling Up

Fewer hours of daylight trigger hormonal changes in hummingbirds that cause an urge to fuel up and fly south.

Christopher in Burmis, AB noted at the beginning of August that “All the females [est. 20] are back nectaring so the rearing is complete. Calliope, Rufous, and Black Chinned females consistently in the garden all day long. Black Chinned was the last male to leave a few days ago, Calliope and Rufous headed south a few weeks ago.” (08/09/2022)

Barbara in Irving, TX observed two hummingbirds nectaring from Turks cap flowers. These hummingbirds were “active, chatty and darting around the yard.” (08/30/2022)

What flowers are you seeing hummingbirds nectaring? Let us know using the reporting category Hummingbird, Nectaring From Flowers.

Focus on Adult Male Hummingbirds 

Where are migrating hummingbirds now? Most hummingbirds that breed in the U.S. and Canada winter in Mexico and Central America. Recent studies also indicate that some species of migratory hummingbirds now spend winter in the U.S. along the Gulf Coast and into Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas.

Male hummingbirds migrate first, followed by females and juveniles. Early male departure is actually beneficial to females and juveniles: with males gone, females and juveniles can feed without competing for food with the larger, more territorial males. This allows juveniles to prepare for migration. Newly-fledged birds need the time to mature and gain fat reserves before flying off on their first migration south. 

Report male hummingbird observations under the reporting category Hummingbird Sighting (Adult Male). If possible, please report the species name in your comments and if you think the hummingbird you are observing is a migrating hummingbird and not a summer resident hummingbird. Keep reporting while adult male hummingbirds are present. 

Amy in Newburgh, IN found a “male adult Ruby Hummingbird at the feeder as the rain came this afternoon.” (08/29/2022)

Beverly in Houston, TX found an “unbelievable amount” of migrating adult ruby-throated hummingbirds arriving daily and making a B-line to her hummingbird feeder. (08/30/2022)

Rose in Providence, UT observed “a Rufous hummingbird that arrived three days ago. Currently fighting with the broadtail and black-chinned set. It loves the hummingbird swing and doesn’t mind me sitting outside on the deck while it monitors.” (08/10/2022)

Report female and juvenile hummingbird observations under the reporting category Hummingbird Sighting. Don’t forget to let us know species name if known. Species tracked include Ruby-throated, Rufous, Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, Allen’s, Costa’s, Calliope, and Anna’s. Photos are always welcome and provide a voucher for your observation. 

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