The Hummingbirds Are Coming…

Maybe you all aren’t TOTALLY aware of how much I love hummingbirds. “A lot” doesn’t begin to cover it. On a recent camping trip to the Oregon Coast (oh yes, it was cold and wet), the moment I stepped out of the car and approached my carefully chosen campsite, I heard the telltale buzzing of two tiny birds. I didn’t get to lay my eyes on them, and the pair flitted about for a mere second before flying off to explore other campsite options. Like me, I’m sure they chose site H27 for its looming trees, moss-covered stones, and an appropriate distance away from everyone else at the campground.

For most of my friends, hearing hummingbirds is a no-big-deal moment. For me, particularly the first time I hear them for the year, my heart fills up so big I sometimes get a little embarrassed if I’m with company. I was ecstatic. I almost offered to purchase the campground but realized I’m not yet wealthy enough to horde such a beautiful place. But one day. One day.

All that being said, I at least have digital maps to show me where the hummingbirds are hanging out. If you haven’t seen these yet, here are migration maps for my two favorite species: the Ruby-Throated and the Rufous. By clicking on the image below, you’ll be taken to the Learner.org migration maps – the two species are hyperlinked beneath the main title above the map.

My top favorite site for bird information – allaboutbirds.org, maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology – has this to say about the Rufous’ annual migration:

“The Rufous Hummingbird makes one of the longest migratory journeys of any bird in the world, as measured by body size. At just over 3 inches long, its roughly 3,900-mile movement (one-way) from Alaska to Mexico is equivalent to 78,470,000 body lengths. In comparison, the 13-inch-long Arctic Tern’s one-way flight of about 11,185 mi is only 51,430,000 body lengths. (AAB)”

Nearly 4,000 miles one way! And besides that, the Rufous is well-known for being the feistiest of all the hummingbirds, bold enough to chase even small mammals away from its territory. All that energy from the nectar of flowers and some insect protein? Outstanding.

Bookmark these maps and check back periodically – it’s fun to see where the birds end up every couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Screen shot taken from Rufous Hummingbird Migration Map, learner.org - click the image to check out their awesome maps!

Posted on March 25, 2012, in Fauna and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I live in the Pacific Northwest and we are lucky enough to have humming birds all year long. It is sad to see them shivering on the feeder with snow falling all around (and it is a pain to keep the feeder from freezing) but I am also in love with the humming bird and enjoy watching them. The only time they are not at our feeder is for the month or so when the flowers first began to bloom – my sugar water can not compete with the real deal from flowers! :-)

    • Sounds like you need a pot of wild bergamot in your window! Then you’ll see them nonstop! :)

      • Ohhh, I don’t know what that is but I will look into it. I am sure flower nectar is much healthier for the hummers than sugar water. Thanks for the tip!

        • There are tons of great websites where you can find hummingbird-favorite flowers – bergamot is cultivated in varieties better known by their scientific name, Monarda. Hummers LOVE that stuff – and anything else featuring red blossoms and especially tubular flowers, like cardinal flower, columbine, etc. Many of these do great in pots, which is handy for placing outside windows where you like to view the hummers, and they will definitely visit them!

  2. Enjoyed your post!

    I can’t imagine thinking that a humming-bird sighting is no big deal, but I guess it takes all kinds.

  3. These are such fantastic creatures, it would be pretty fantastic to get to see one some day. Have you tried capturing a photo of one? I can imagine it would be quite the task but what a rewarding one if you got that perfect snap!

    • Oh man, it never occurred to me that you guys don’t have them over there! Looks like you’ll have to plan a trip to the states, friend! :) And no, the lenses on my camera aren’t quite fancy enough unless the hummingbird is sitting quietly for the photo, which is out of their range of activity usually. I have, however, rescued one after it became trapped inside a building for several hours without food – it passed out in my hand and I pried its amazing little beak open to drip sugar water in. It finally roused, stood up, and flew off! One of the most amazing experiences of my life, hands down. Thanks for reading!! :)

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