Where Do the Hummingbirds Go?

Where Do the Hummingbirds Go?

North Carolina. I had forgotten how wonderful hummingbirds are to watch so I was delighted to see one yesterday. They are the smallest bird in the world and the only ones that can actually hover in midair, fly backwards, sideways and upside down. Now that is cool!

Memories come back of the hummingbirds arriving at my Grandparents house when I was young. They always came on the same day in April and left at the beginning of September. But I never thought about where they live all winter.

So where do they go? While not all hummingbirds migrate, most of the ones living in the US do. The map shows sightings this fall of hummingbirds who are just starting their migrations to Mexico, the Yucatan, Panama or the Southern US. Since hummingbirds are solitary birds, they generally travel alone (how sad) so we don’t know much about their migratory patterns. Maps like this rely on citizens to report sightings thru organizations like Northern Journey and The Audubon Society (all you have to do is register on their website and record a sighting, which of course I did).

And how does the tiny bird know when it is time to migrate, sometimes thousands of miles? They rely on the amount of daylight and the angle of the sun to tell them. Loading up on insects and nectar in preparation for their trip, often gaining twice their weight for the long journey, they head south for the winter and north for the summer. Pretty smart birds for being so small (and cute!)

Fall hummingbird sightings