Spring is Near!

February 23, 2021 by Team Journey North

Spring is just under a month away. Report your observations of hummingbirds and help document their migration.

“This Broad-billed Hummingbird has been guarding ‘her’ feeder all winter. We went to the garden center and got a couple of salvia plants.” Photo by: Marjorie (Tucson, AZ; 02/07/2021)

Prepare for Spring!

Thoughts of spring and the return of hummingbirds provide hope during a long winter. Start your preparations for the migration season as soon as possible. If you live in an area where hummingbirds overwinter or you observe early migratory arrivals, put your feeders out. With much of North America experiencing cold weather, feeders are providing valuable calories to hummingbirds.

Errol in Pensacola, FL: “Female Rufous has shown at feeders, shrimp plants and red honeysuckle vines … Has visited feeders with temperatures below freezing a few mornings.” (02/18/2021)

Beverly in Houston, TX: “Male Rufous was able to nectar only 1 day on  potted salvias before the snow and ice storm … There was no food source other than frozen feeders I constantly had to reheat.” (02/20/2021)

A Note About Reporting “First” Observations

It can be challenging to determine if a first observation is actually a first observation of a migrating hummingbird and not a hummingbird that is overwintering. During this early period of migration, please share if you think you’ve observed a migratory hummingbird or a winter resident. And if you’re uncertain, please let us know.

Seth in New Orleans, LA: “Although this is the first new Ruby-throated Hummingbird we have seen in our yard since 1 January 2021 (we had a winter-resident female ruby-throated hummingbird from October through early January), Nancy Newfield, who banded it on 13 February 2021, believes that it is a winter resident that drifted over from somewhere nearby.” (02/12/2021)

(Note: Read more about Nancy Newfield, a longtime hummingbird bander who has previously shared her expertise with Journey North.)

Steven in Naples, FL: “Activity picking up in Naples Park, FL with this juvenile Ruby-throat showing up. Seems too soon to be seeing the first of the northward migration so quite possibly just the local population moving about more as they fuel up.” (02/12/2021)

Jackie in Jacumba, CA: “Adult male feeding and of course guarding in palo verde. Juvenile appeared at another feeder, feisty as could be, facing down finches. First may have actually arrived couple days ago - thought I saw something coppery at feeder but not fast enough with camera.” (02/12/2021)

Track the Migration

How has the extreme weather along the Gulf Coast impacted migration? Are hummingbirds being observed in their expected range? Your observations help answer these and other questions. And you can also explore our maps to compare past and current data.

As temperatures increase, hummingbirds migrating from their overwintering locations in Mexico and Central America will arrive soon (if they have not done so already). Report your observations of:

  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds: When will migratory Ruby-throated Hummingbirds first arrive? Report under the category: Hummingbird, Ruby-throated (FIRST
  • Rufous Hummingbirds: A few reports have already come in. Migration significantly picks up in mid-March. Report under the category: Hummingbird, Rufous (FIRST)
  • Other Species Sighted: Other species tracked include Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, Allen’s, Costa’s, Calliope, and Anna’s HummingbirdsReport under the category: Hummingbird, Other Species Sighted
  • Other Observations: Report observations such as courtship, territorial, and nesting behavior. Report under the category: Hummingbird (OTHER Observations)
  • Hummingbirds Nectaring From Flowers: Report hummingbirds you see nectaring at flowers. Try to include the name of the flower. Report under the category: Hummingbird, Nectaring from Flowers