Welcome to Spring Migration Season!

February 23, 2018 by Mary Hosier

Excitement is building in areas along the Gulf Coast where the first migrating Ruby-throated hummingbirds will soon be arriving. Rufous hummingbirds are already on the move up and into the Pacific Northwest.

Rufous has been here since November,” reports John in Cleveland, South Carolina on February 6.

Ready and Waiting!

As February moves into March change is in the air. It’s almost time for the first migrants to return north to their breeding grounds. Gulf Coast observers are waiting for just the right winds that will assist the Ruby-throats across the Gulf of Mexico. Feeders are filled and ready.

Here Come the Rufous

The first Rufous hummingbirds are being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Most Rufous that breed in Canada and the U.S. winter south of the U.S./Mexico border.

Washington: “First Rufous today at the feeder @ 11:45AM.” Gig Harbor on February 17.

California: “First rufous of the spring! We have about 30 Anna’s overwintering, and this is the first Rufous of this spring. It is right on its historical average first appearance date.” Trinidad on February 13.

Winter Sightings

While a few Ruby-throat and Rufous hummingbirds have survived cold winter temperatures in the United States, most of them have spent the winter in Mexico and Central America. 

Texas: ”I have 2 male Rufous that show up every day. Both feeders are wrapped in bubble wrap tonight to help keep them from freezing. This is one way we have successfully done in past over wintering hummingbirds.” Houston on February 3.

Florida: “Three Rubies continue to reside at my home. A bad freeze has killed the blooms on many plants so hummers do a lot more bugging, and are using the feeders more!” Ormond Beach on February 3.

Western Species

Several different species of hummingbirds have been reported - some new arrivals and some overwintering. Anna’s, Black-chins, and Calliopes are being reported along the Pacific Coast and up into Alaska.