Hummingbird Spring Migration 2011

claireplymouth z6b coastal MAApril 6, 2011

I was just reminded (thanks, Lucia AKA silvergirl426) that it's time to post the Spring Migration map for the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. In fact, I'm late! They've been spotted in CT and MA!

These maps should automatically update so anyone who is interested can watch the progress (and get the feeder out of the cellar and find the nectar recipe). The maps are linked to, and produced by, the hummingbirds.net website where there's lots of useful and interesting information about the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Claire

Spring 2011 Migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I should have started this a month ago, sorry, folks.

Lots of good discussion on last year's thread. Ignore the map, the link automatically goes to 2011.

Another thing to look at is the Weather Channel's forecast of coastal winds to get an idea of when the winds are favorable for hummers to move north. This map will automatically update also.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
silvergirl426_gw

Yay! Thanks Claire. Anticipation! Since the snow in my backyard JUST melted, I don't think they would find conditions very hospitable yet. But just wait a few weeks. I'll be out there with my feeders filled.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 11:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Judging by the last few years' timing, I won't see them here until the azaleas and rhododendrons are blooming in the neighborhood. That's usually the end of April or beginning of May, but anything can happen.

I got the feeders out of the cellar and I have a concentrated sugar solution in the refrigerator so I can get the food out in a few minutes if one shows up early. I'll put the feeders out anyway when I can't stand the suspense of waiting any more.

I did put the jelly feeder out because I thought I might have seen a catbird. That's also ready for the orioles that show up around the same time as the hummers.

The early sightings are reputed to be hummingbirds determined to get north as fast as possible (probably stopping on the bird equivalent of the interstate). They won't get off the exits for a while yet, at least not here on the cool coast.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 3:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The winds forecast for tomorrow, Sunday, look favorable to waft the hummers north. Maybe there'll be some new sightings in New England; there's been no change for a few days.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
silvergirl426_gw

How did that hummer get all the up to MAINE this weekend?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Must have been a very strong tailwind - you'd think he would have at least stopped to say hello....

Claire

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Looks like the hummers are heading up the Hudson and on to Canada rather than venturing into New England. I put up a hummingbird feeder anyway just in case a bird gets lost and is hungry.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 8:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

We just put ours up yesterday. Does that mean, we've missed them for the season?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 1:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

"Does that mean, we've missed them for the season?"

Nah, the first hummers to show up on the maps seem to be the transient males heading for Canada or other northern climes where they were born. The females and local-born males come later, at a more leisurely pace. (Disclaimer: this is my opinion, I'm not an expert, but I have been reading and watching).

Claire

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Oh, that's good. I have only seen a hummer in our yard, once in 30 years and it was just passing through. I thought I might as well give it a good try this year. I got my feeder out late last year.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
capecodder(z6 MA)

We have never, ever seen one before approx May 7...every year they come to our slider and let us know they are here so I'll put the feeders out. I can't imagine what they would eat at this time of year even if they are big bug eaters too...catbirds and orioles also arrive the within a day or 2 of the hummers.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The serious hummers arrive here in late April or early May, or at least for the last few years that I've been waiting. You should be in good time.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

capecodder: You posted while I was responding to pm2. Last year I saw the first one when the rhododendrons and azaleas started to bloom in the neighborhood, as if he was following the flower trail. That hummer left and another showed up, also with the orioles. When I see a female hummer I figure they're here for the summer.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
silvergirl426_gw

I have never seen one earlier than the first week in May -- even last year when it was so unseasonably warm, the first to arrive was May 7. That's interesting, Claire, about lead males. I figure mine are the same families as they always nest in the same overgrown honeysuckle bush just behind a stone wall. It's as if they know the territory.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 7:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks, now how long can I leave the feeder up without replacing the sugar solution?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

pm2: I just look closely to see if the sugar solution is getting cloudy and then change it. It stays clear a long time in cool weather when there are no birds dipping their dirty beaks and tongues in it (unless some dirty bugs climb in).

Claire

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 8:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

That sounds very manageable, Claire, thanks. Fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 9:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
corunum z6 CT(6)

PM2 - I found this website with a multitude of questions about hummers - you might be interested - I was/am. Claire is right - males return first.

I just put the feeder out today, but even in central CT, I don't see them till almost mid-May.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Hummingbird Journey North

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Thanks for that link Jane, it really is fascinating. This was helpful....

"....For many small bird species, the timing of spring migration may be related to leaf-out. This is because when leaves emerge, so do lots of insects. Insectivorous birds may fuel their migration by following the leaf-out, and eating the millions of insects available at that time."

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mmqchdygg(Z5NH)

What's the secret to keeping the ants from forming a trail up my pole to the feeder? I obviously can't keep the flying ants away, but the regular ants make a road. Will something like Vaseline work at all?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 10:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

mmqch... Some of the hummingbird feeders have a built in ant moat right where the feeder meets the hanger. There are also hanging ant moats that you can attach your feeder to. This thread discusses a lot of different approaches.

thread on hummingbird garden forum

Claire

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 12:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I saw a hummer this morning, about 20 minutes ago! Of course, the closest camera had dead batteries - I'll try to get a picture if he comes back. This is the earliest I'e ever seen a hummingbird so he's almost certainly a transient.

Luckily I changed the sugar solution yesterday so he has fresh food, I don't what else he can eat this early in the season except there should be bugs around. Leaf buds are opening. He looked energetic bouncing and feeding from my feeder, not like other years when the first hummers just sat there looking exhausted.

Claire (with a camera around her neck)

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 7:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It's now 10am and I haven't seen him again. The map shows a string of sightings yesterday and today going up the coast into Canada.

I'm figuring he flew in sometime late yesterday afternoon or evening when I wasn't watching, looking for a bed and breakfast before moving on. Maybe fueled up then got a good night's rest in one of the trees. Woke up full of energy, had a quick fast food breakfast and continued north.

Maybe a fantasy, but I like to think of it that way.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 10:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Also looking at the maps (I like to analyze data), there are two separate streams of migration. The first stream headed up the Hudson River into Canada, and now the second stream goes up the coast also to Canada. There's a good strong tailwind shown in the Weather Channel's forecast map and the hummers are probably taking advantage of that. It also looks like it's much easier to fly over land near sea level rather than over hills and mountains (probably nasty updrafts).

Bird migration is interesting.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 22, 2011 at 10:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Claire, you are a way station. :-) Hope you get a hummer that sticks around soon. No sign of anything here yet.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 7:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Saw another male hummer today. I was out staring at some tulips when I got buzzed - I guess I was too close to the hummingbird feeder and needed to be warned. Didn't have the camera with me and when I got back inside he was gone. I haven't seen him again but I put the second feeder out on the other side of the house figuring it's time.

This morning I had one catbird and two orioles at the suet feeder - these birds usually arrive about the same time as the hummers.

The other indicator is the PJM rhododendrons in full bloom in the supermarket parking lot a little over a mile away, and my Mary Fleming rhododendron is opening. All the signs are here, I just need the hummers to notice them.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 3:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Not a particularly good picture but this hummer was resting and sipping at about 7:30 pm tonight. I think it's a male (I only saw the back). When he finished he dropped down and perched in a big rugosa rose next to the feeder. Maybe he'll roost there for the night, sort of like sleeping next to the refrigerator in case you get hungry at 4 am.

It's very good to see hummers again while I'm washing dishes.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 29, 2011 at 7:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

OK, got a female hummingbird

and a male hummingbird

Looks like the summer visitors have moved in.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 30, 2011 at 5:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mmqchdygg(Z5NH)

I put my feeders out yesterday, and I've got 2 hummers today! Whoo hoo!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 6:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Congratulations, mmqchdygg! They've probably been scouring the neighborhood looking for a good restaurant.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cheleinri(z6 RI)

"My" hummingbird showed up yesterday. She stared at me through the window so I got the feeder out. It would seem this is the right time for the regulars.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 7:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Nice that your hummer reminds you, cheleinri! Pretty soon there should be a lull at the feeders while the hummers are nesting and feeding insects to the babies. Then they should be back on sugar water and nectar for the summer.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
silvergirl426_gw

JEALOUS!! Where are my guys?
lucia

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 2:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
spedigrees z4VT

I spotted my first little hummingbirds in the crabapple tree outside the kitchen window May 3rd. The next day one was drinking from my front porch feeder and today it is swarming with them. Nice to have them back!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 2:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It's still early, lucia, they should be out there somewhere. Do your neighbors see them? or maybe your neighbors have fifty feeders out and the hummers go there instead...

I'm only seeing hummers about once a day (although I've been busy and not watching regularly). Not many rhododendrons or azaleas blooming on my street yet but the next street over has a lot and maybe the birds hang around there most of the time.

spedigrees: I remember someone in VT or another northern state saying they get rufous hummingbirds as well as ruby-throats. Was that you?

Claire

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 8:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
corunum z6 CT(6)

No picture, but tonight about 7, I was bending over fixing something in a garden when that zoom sound hovered nearby. I was bent over not moving a muscle whilst the weary traveler drank just a foot or so up over my right shoulder. As the lower back pain increased, I turned my head to gaze at the tiny zoomer and wouldn't you know it, he just stood on the feeder's little red perch and looked down at me. I softly explained that I couldn't take the hip pain another minute, he took another long sip, and we parted peacefully til the morrow. They are in sync with the lilacs, quince, aronia.
Jane

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
spedigrees z4VT

Claire, I used to see rufous hummingbirds up until last summer when most of the hummers I saw appeared to be ruby-throated. So far this year, the past 3 days, the birds I've seen look like ruby-throats, at least those I got a close look at. (I wish they had a tracking map for the rufous hummingbirds as they do for the ruby-throated birds.)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
silvergirl426_gw

My motto holds true -- if you hang them (the feeders) they (the hummers) will come. Feeders with their first batch of sugar water went up Thursday, my guys came humming on Friday afternoon, just when I had arrived at the house and was doing my rounds. I was leaning over, looking at the leafing on my New Dawn, which climbs up the crook that holds the feeder and two zoomed in to say hello. They were doing their acrobatics all weekend. I do believe this is a pair -- maybe the male was just showing off. Spring is officially here.
lucia

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 11:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That's great, lucia! I'll bet the hummers have actually been there for a week or two just waiting for you to hang the feeders. I remember years ago visiting relatives sometime in late spring when they decided to hang a feeder. We wondered if any hummers were around and how long it would take for them to appear. It took 20 minutes. Nobody had seen them - they must have been busy looking for food somewhere else.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 9, 2011 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
m1mcmahon_bridgew_edu

I had my first male hummingbird, May 1st, the females showed up about a week later, but as of the 15th, nothing. I changed all the sugar water, and put up umbrellas over the feeders so they wouldn't dilute, ( the weather has been awful here for 3 days, wet and cold) I'm worried, do you think I should be?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 9:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I wouldn't worry, the hummers may be nesting, in which case they're feeding insects to the kids (they don't have little water bottles to carry nectar to them). I rarely see the hummers at my feeders now - just a quick slurp first thing in the morning that I may or may not see. I expect them to be back more often when the babies have fledged.

I'm keeping the feeders up and clean. One has an umbrella, the other keeps overflowing with the relentless rain.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pixie_lou

I just bought a Hummingbird Feeder today. Now to decide where to put it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

The most important thing is to put it where you can easily see it! (and easily refill it). Also, not too close to other bird feeders - big birds scare away tiny hummers.

I have one hummer feeder in clear view of both the kitchen and computer windows, and it's on the path I use to go get the paper so I'm reminded to check it (look if the sugar solution is still nice and clear).

The other feeder is on my deck railing, and when nice weather comes and I can eat out there I'll enjoy that one too. Right now I refill both at about the same time.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ontheteam(5a-6 (S.Eastern, MA))

Ok I have GOT to get a feeder! Thanks for encouraging me

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Yesterday, I was shocked to see a Hummingbird in the garden. I've had my feeder out since first posting here, but the last time I filled it, I let it go too long and it was cloudy and old when the hummer showed up yesterday. Of course, he had to come, when we were entirely busy and not able to change the feeder immediately. It would have been nice if I had some nectar ready to go in the refrigerator too. We made up some right away and cleaned the feeder, but I had to run out and didn't get to fill it until hours later. So, now I'm wondering if he will come back at all.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 2:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Yesterday, I was shocked to see a Hummingbird in the garden. I've had my feeder out since first posting here, but the last time I filled it, I let it go too long and it was cloudy and old when the hummer showed up yesterday. Of course, he had to come, when we were entirely busy and not able to change the feeder immediately. It would have been nice if I had some nectar ready to go in the refrigerator too. We made up some right away and cleaned the feeder, but I had to run out and didn't get to fill it until hours later. So, now I'm wondering if he will come back at all.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 3:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pixie_lou

I decided to hang my hummingbird feeder on my clothesline. It's right outside my kitchen window, so easy viewing. I have hanging pots of impatiens on the clothesline, so those are hopefully another attractant for the hummers. Plus it's near the deck, where I have additional pots of bright colorful annuals.

Now we sit and wait.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 9:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terrene(5b MA)

First hummer sighting here yesterday too! What a coincidence, PM2. Only caught a couple quick glimpses as he/she checked out the bird feeders, then skittered up to the front yard to check out the bleeding hearts.

There is lots of Aquilegia starting to bloom in my yard and the neighbors. Mid-late May when it's blooming is the usual time that I see the first hummer.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
prairiemoon2 z6 MA

The one I saw was actually checking out a large Cornus racemosa, which doesn't bloom for awhile and then went over to our dogwood tree that is blooming right now. I have a couple of Azaleas blooming but I didn't see whether it checked those out or not. I do have a lot of Aquilegia, I didn't know they liked those. Mine are just starting to open too. I have a good amount of Bleeding Heart that are over by the dogwood too. Well, I'll have to keep a container of nectar in the refrigerator to make sure I'm ready next time. Our feeder is clean and full now.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2011 at 2:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pixie_lou

I bought my hummingbird feeder back in May and *finally* saw my first hummer yesterday. I'm pretty sure we've had hummers around before yesterday - since half of the liquid in the feeder was gone.

DD and I were sitting on the deck, maybe 10 feet away from the feeder. And the little hummer showed up. Spend a couple minutes feeding, then flew away. I decided to change the liquid in the feeder, wondering if the short stay was a reflection of my stale nectar offerings.

We continue to sit and await more hummers.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 6:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Ah, that's dedication, pixie_lou, keeping a feeder filled for at least two months without seeing a hummer! I hope the logjam is over and they'll be regulars for you for the rest of the season. I'm glad your daughter got to see it.

Here there was a long lull, probably busy nesting, but there's a respectable amount of traffic now with lots of territorial dogfights (birdfights?) Today a chickadee explored one of the hummer feeders and then actually perched on the top of my computer screen for a very short time. It's the first time a chickadee ever looked huge to me, at least compared to a hummingbird.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 8:26PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Winter weather in the kitchen - 2015 edition
This is the official thread to talk about (complain?)...
pixie_lou
Any Block Island gardeners here?
I've never seen any postings from anyone gardening...
bill_ri_z6b
Something to brighten up this horrible winter
I was in Palm Springs a couple of weeks ago. Maybe...
bill_ri_z6b
Flora at THBG
I think this exhibition of flowers and flower arrangements...
Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b
The Great Backyard Bird Count Feb 13-16, 2015
The Great Backyard Bird Count Feb 13-16, 2015 About Claire...
claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™