Reaching Northern Limits

May 18, 2021 by Team Journey North

Hummingbirds are approaching the northern limits of their breeding ranges. As migration begins to wind down, be on the lookout for nests, eggs, territorial behavior, and nectaring activity. Keep reporting to Journey North.

“First male [Ruby-throated Hummingbird] arrived on the 10th the day after I put up the feeder, then a second male arrived the next day.” Photo by: Lisa (Annapolis Royal, NS; 05/10/2021)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

The latest reports of Ruby-throated hummingbirds are coming from south central and south eastern Canada. These are signs that Ruby-throats are reaching the northern limits of their breeding range. 

Wayne in Nelson, NB: “Finally at 6:15 this evening a beautiful Ruby-throated male came to my feeder…so nice to have them back.” (05/13/2021)

Cindy in Kenora District, ON: “Saw them [Ruby-throated Hummingbirds] last Friday, and I heard of other sightings that day in the Sioux Lookout area as well.” (05/14/2021)

Michele in Stratford, PE: “Our window feeder has been up since May 1. We waited patiently for the 1st sighting. Today at 5:45 pm we welcomed back a male [Ruby-throated] Hummingbird. 8 days earlier than last year.” (05/14/2021)

Joan in Truro, NS: “One female [Ruby-throated Hummingbird]. Early morning visit.” (05/15/2021)

Gwen in Corman Park No 344, SK: “First male Ruby-throated Hummingbird appeared at 11:30. Second appeared at 2:45.” (05/16/2021)

Rufous Hummingbird and Other Species

Rufous Hummingbirds are still migrating through south western Canada. At some feeders, Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds are coexisting and consuming lots of nectar!

Nancy in Cardston County, AB: “Approximately 8:40 pm a male Rufous came in for a quick drink, didn’t see him again. First one of the year.” (05/10/2021)

Dr Paul in Osoyoos, BC: “There are about 4 male Calliopes, at least one male Rufous, more than 6 female Calliopes, and at least 2 female Rufous at this location, with the male Rufous arriving on 9 April and the first male Calliope seen on 16 April. Combined, the birds are consuming 500 ml of nectar every 1.5 days.” (05/10/2021)

The northernmost report of a Black-chinned Hummingbird has come in from Vale, Oregon. Black-chinned Hummingbirds migrate as far north as British Columbia.

Sharon in Vale, OR: “1st female Black-chinned hummingbird at feeder.” (05/13/2021)

Other Observations

In Kentucky, Jan came across two Ruby-throated Hummingbird eggs. Breeding season is here!

Jan in Danville, KY: “This nest was built last year (05/2020) and the mama has returned, tidied it up, and laid these two eggs!” (05/11/2021)

When establishing breeding territories, male hummingbirds can become aggressive. James in Michigan shared this detailed report of dueling Ruby-throated Hummingbirds:

James in Gulliver, MI: “Dog fights for dominance around the feeder non-stop from noon to sundown, Ruby-throated Hummingbird male with golden gorget defended his prized feeder. Very evenly matched with more displays than actual contact, at times resting near each other between battles, the challenger was last bird standing on this territory at sunset.” (05/15/2021)

If you observe nests and territorial behavior, please report your observations under Hummingbird, Other Observations. And If you observe hummingbirds nectaring from plants, please report these observations under Hummingbird, Nectaring from Flowers. If you know plant names, submit this information in the comment section.