Reaching Northern Limits

May 25, 2018 by Mary Hosier

Delighted Northerners report first sightings from Yukon Territories to Nova Scotia. Migration for some is over, but keep sharing your observations through the summer.

Male Rubythroat nectaring in summertime flowers (Monarda sp.). Photo by David Y. Parker.

Needing Bugs and Nectar

Many hummingbirds have reached their summer breeding grounds. Lucky observers might now view mating behaviors which lead to nesting and raising young. Nesting activities require a lot of energy that the female will get from eating small insects and spiders along with nectar from flowers and feeders. During the time a female is on the nest and caring for her young you may not see much activity at your feeders. She is looking mostly for protein sources to feed her rapidly growing babies. After the young birds fledge the nest there will be more activity at your feeder. Use your garden to provide the nectar-rich flowers that are needed for energy throughout the season.

Reaching Northern Limits

The latest sightings of Ruby-throated and Rufous are coming from the same northern geographic area in northwestern Canada - a sign that the spring migration has reached its limits. With each advancing week citizen scientists share first sightings and neighbors are alerted to prepare for their first sighting. Spring hummingbird maps are exciting to watch. Continue to report your observations and share in the excitement.

“They are finally here. I am super excited. Two females and 4 males…can’t wait for the full migration to show up. Thank you all who participate. You all help me get ready.” Almond, Quebec on May 18th.

“First sighting of 2018. Looks like it is a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, with white wing tips and no red on its throat.” Hamilton, Ontario on May 11th. 

“Glad to finally see them here after tracking them for a while.” Spruce Lake, Saskatchewan May 16th.


Nesting Phenology