Migration Gaining Momentum

April 13, 2021 by Team Journey North

Hummingbird activity is picking up and the leading edge of migration is moving northward. Are you observing hummingbirds? Remember to report to Journey North!

“Two days later than last year, though he may have been here the day before, since the sugar water suddenly disappeared.” Photo by: Barbara (Austin, KY; 04/08/2021)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The leading edge of Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration is moving north. Clusters of reports are coming in from Missouri, Kentucky, and Virginia. And there are isolated reports even farther north in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Gary in King George, VA: “Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. First sighting 4/12/2021.”

Kristen in Holts Summit, MO: “1st hummingbird on the year. Male drinking out of my feeder. So happy!” (04/12/2021)

Pamela in Taylorsville, KY: “First hummer of the year!!” (04/13/2021)

Chris in Madison, WI: “Had only my ipad camera at hand, so the photo is a little rough, but the hummingbird’s throat is visible. It made several return visits to the Mrs. Moon Pulmonaria flowers in the course of an hour.” (04/13/2021)

Rufous Hummingbird

British Columbia is a hotspot of Rufous Hummingbird activity. Some Journey North observers are noting early arrivals, while others are observing Rufous and Anna’s Hummingbirds getting along. This is surprising as Rufous are known to be quite aggressive and territorial.

Dr Paul in Osoyoos, BC: “First male of 2021 at 07.15 today. After dark last night, the feeder was noticeably diminished, so this one - maybe others - must have been busy fueling up yesterday without my notice … One of the earliest arrivals at this location on the BC-WA border in the past 8 years of observing. A beautiful fellow in all his color glory - welcome home!” (04/11/2021)

Deirdre in Cowichan Valley, BC: “This is our first male Rufous….up at our feeder over 45 minutes: feeding intensely! The female (first seen last week at our feeder) came up a couple of minutes later. Also saw him feeding side by side with one of our Anna’s! They all seem to get along very well!” (04/11/2021)

Farther south, some Rufous Hummingbirds are just beginning their journey.

Carrie in Clarksdale, MS: “This one is banded and appeared to be smaller than the other.” (04/12/2021)

Other Species and Observations

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are being reported as far west as Utah. And Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are finally arriving in Colorado.

Carla in Ivins, UT: “This male Black-chinned hummer has been here for about a week but this was the first time I could get a picture.” (04/08/2021)

Gisela in Littleton, CO: “Finally! Six days later than last year. First hummingbird of the season, a Broad-tailed male at 5:40pm; came back at 6:16pm and 7:12pm for last feedings before night. It looked healthy and in good weight.” (04/11/2021)

Report Observations and Put Feeders Out 

Keep reporting hummingbird observations to Journey North. If possible, include photos in your reports. Please make sure your photo is properly rotated before submitting.

If you haven’t already done so, put hummingbird feeders and potted nectar plants are out, and plant nectar-rich flowers in gardens. These nectar sources provide crucial energy for migrating hummingbirds. Be ready for early arrivals!

Christine in Davenport, IA: “Seen in flight near location of last year’s feeding. I had not put outdoor feeder up yet.” (04/12/2021)

April is Citizen Science Month!

Citizen Science Month encompasses online events and opportunities to contribute to citizen science initiatives from home. This April, Journey North celebrates our citizen scientists and encourages others to join this important effort. Watch our Journey North video to learn how to participate. And learn more about Citizen Science Month and other Journey North projects here.