May Momentum

May 4, 2021 by Team Journey North

May is here and hummingbird migration is now widespread throughout North America. Report your observations to Journey North and celebrate World Migratory Bird Day this Saturday, May 8th.

“First of the year Ruby-throated Hummingbird appeared on a gray rainy day on May 4, 2021.” Photo by: Jane (Middlebury, VT)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

May is bringing a surge of Ruby-throated Hummingbird reports. Since last week’s update on April 27, over 1,000 new reports have come in. From Minnesota to New Brunswick, Journey North observers are celebrating the return of Ruby-throats. Many of the first arrivals are males as they stake claim to breeding territories. Thus far, the northernmost report is from latitude 46°N in Cable, Wisconsin.

Lee in Hinsdale, NH: “One male [Ruby-throated Hummingbird], visited twice within the span of 30 minutes.” (05/01/2021)

Beatrix in Campobello Island, NB: “[Ruby-throated Hummingbird] arrived at 15:02 this afternoon.” (05/02/2021)

Jennifer in London, ON: “[Rub-throated Hummingbird] hovered and fed in the hanging basket of fuchsia, then moved on to the nectar feeder. Fed and rested. Beautiful boy!” (05/03/2021)

Paula in Kiester, MN: “I was bird watching in my yard. Did not expect to see a [Ruby-throated] Hummingbird for another week. And there he was. He might of been flying through. He ate several times. The map helps me judge when they might be here. Thank you!” (05/03/2021)

Pamela in Town of Cable, WI: “One male [Ruby-throated Hummingbird] spotted at feeder in evening.” (05/03/2021)

Rufous Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbirds are well adapted to cold temperatures. This allows them to migrate into areas where nighttime temperatures in spring may drop below freezing, such as the northern reaches of their breeding range in Alaska.

Ruth in Valdez, AK: “Put feeders up this afternoon and one small male [Rufous Hummingbird] came investigating within 5 minutes.” (04/28/2021)

Howard in Girdwood, AK: “Several [Rufous Hummingbirds] seen at neighbors’ feeders here in Girdwood Valley.” (04/29/2021)

Other Species and Observations

The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest bird in North America. Their diminutive size, even by hummingbird standards, doesn’t prevent them from migrating long distances. Journey North observers in Canada are welcoming them back.

Dr Paul in Osoyoos, BC: “In the past week, more Calliopes have arrived at this location. I’m providing one picture of a “drinkathon” of some 6 birds at a 10-hole feeder at dusk (taken through a window), although this picture under-represents the actual numbers.” (04/24/2021)

Christopher in Pincher Creek No 9, AB: “First Male Calliope of the year. Right on schedule three years in a row.” (05/01/2021)

Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day: “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird!” 

World Migratory Bird Day is this Saturday, May 8th. Journey North is proud to join with you, our citizen scientists, and many others who believe strongly that migratory birds connect us with their unique songs and flights, and remind us of the importance of working together, across borders, to protect them. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird!” And one of the featured species is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird!

Join the global celebration by listening to – and watching birds – wherever you find yourself this weekend. And submit your hummingbird and other bird observations to Journey North. 

Read our blog: Celebrating Migration While Helping Unravel the Mystery of Bird Movement»

Read the World Migratory Bird Day 2021 News Release»