Rainy Cold Weather Slowing Pace

March 13, 2020 by Team Journey North

Keep reporting.

“The botanical garden north of Tucson is called Tohono Chul. It’s 40+ acres of desert beauty and home to many hummingbirds. This hummingbird fed frequently as we strolled the gardens.” Photo by: Marjorie (03/09/2020; Tuscon, AZ)

Sightings Continue To Trickle In

Spring migration can be difficult for hummingbirds. Temperature, wind patterns and storms can influence the pace of migration. As Dr. Aborn notes in this week’s Weather & Songbirds News Update, “There is a cold front located along the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys that is bringing lots of rain (again!) to much of the Eastern United States. That front is expected to stall, and the forecast is for rain through the weekend.”

Could this cold and rainy front be slowing the arrival of migrating hummingbirds? The weather promises to be more favorable for our avian friends, like the Ruby-throated and Rufous hummingbirds. Please keep a look out and report your sightings to Journey North. 

Gulf Coast Sightings Increase for Ruby-throated Hummingbirds 

A number of Journey North citizen scientists have reported multiple sightings of Ruby-throated hummingbirds along the Gulf Coast of US. There is even one report as far north as Kansas. Please submit photographs when possible to assist in verifying reports.

From Adkins, TX: Lisa submitted this report: “Had a beautiful Male Ruby throat stop by a feeder.” (03/07/2020) Link to report

From Springfield, LA: Kate reports her first hummingbird to arrive at her feeder this year. “Looked like a young male ruby-throat, as he only had a little bit of red at his throat. He seemed quite thirsty! I’m so glad they’re here. They brighten my day.” (03/10/2020) Link to report

From Ringgold, LA: Thomas found “one male exploring my single feeder that was up just in case…looking around my yard at various blooming fruit trees, yellow (Carolina) jasmine, and even poked around the windows of my house.” (03/11/2020) Link to report

From Independence, MO: Judy saw her first hummingbird “looking for my feeder at front entrance to my house.” (03/09/2020) Link to report

Rufous Hummingbirds Arrive in Pacific Northwest Region

There has been a flurry of activity along the west coast. Rufous arrivals do ruffle some feathers, especially those of the resident Anna’s hummingbirds. Some resident hummingbirds seem to sticking around at least for now. 

From Tillamook, OR: Vallie “watched an Anna’s male and Rufous male facing off. We had both male and female Anna’s spend the winter here. The Rufous have just recently arrived. Saw a female Anna’s several times at the feeder. A crisp 28 degrees this morning.” (03/07/2020) Link to report

From Delta, BC: Gary & Denise reported “first Rufous Hummingbird of the year, a male, 9 days earlier than 2019, also a male. Arrived just before sunset and celebrated his arrival by chasing a resident Anna’s male off the feeder.” (03/07/2020) Link to report  

From Bremerton, WA: Connor snapped a quick photo f a male Rufous who was “wary as a new arrival.” Connor noted that he has had a resident Anna’s also. (03/09/2020)

From Lake Charles, LA: Maria commented that this Rufous hummingbird “first arrived in November 2019 and remained all winter. Still here in March 2020.” (03/03/2020)

A Note on a Banded Hummingbird

From Delano, TN: Deanna has this request, ”Rarity our overwintering Black-Chinned Hummingbird (banded & confirmed) is showing signs of molting (visible spots in picture). She has had over 60 birders visit her, since she was banded on Nov 16th. She wasn’t a bit shy to be photographed and would often do close fly-bys to entertain her visitors. She is a fearless protector of her feeder tree. She chased off Blue Jays, Red Wing Blackbirds, Grackles and many more species. She appears to have play dates with the Carolina Chickadees, chasing them around the yard, through the tree branches and shrubs…I will definitely miss her when she heads back west. If hope sees her or her band, please reach out, so we know where her spring/summer home is. Praying for her return next fall.” (02/28/2020)

Put Out Your Feeders Now

Did you know that migrating hummingbirds often return to familiar locations of feeders and nectaring plants? It is time to clean your hummingbird feeders to provide needed energy for migrating hummingbirds. 

Know Your Hummingbirds