Hummingbirds are well-known as backyard birds. When we see hummingbirds roaming around, we feel relaxed and enjoy feeding them. We used to hear the tales of hummingbirds since our childhood. The charming and compelling stories of the hummingbirds enriched my childhood with plenty of memories. These birds evoke excitement at the time of their arrival each spring. People mark the arrival of the tiny creatures as a time to bid them farewell until next year.
Whenever I listen to their stories, I wonder about their living and movement. Do hummingbirds migrate? This question encouraged me to know more about these little creatures. If you also want to explore more about hummingbirds ore, let’s have a chitchat on this topic.
Are Hummingbirds Able To Migrate?
Yes, hummingbirds migrate by themselves from one place to another in a particular season because it is an innate and genetic instinct. Moreover, it is a survival adaptation that allows birds to travel long distances. Hummingbirds use geographical landmarks to fly to different places crossing hundreds of miles. When it comes to the migration of hummingbirds, their compact body breaks the record of other migrating birds like Falcons, Cranes, Flamingos, Great white pelicans, and many more. They have small bodies with extremely fast movements, and their heart beats thousands of times a minute. So they can travel a long journey straight over the mountains, rivers, and high ranges.
As the smallest bird in the world, the hummingbird’s migration journey needs a lot of preparation. They do not migrate in the flock. Each bird follows its instincts on appropriate departure times and routes. Scientifically it is believed that hummingbirds begin their migration due to some triggers. Sunlight’s changing level and angle can be one reason, and another is considered a drop in natural food availability. Hummingbirds sport this as a signal and make their preparation for the departure.
When Do Hummingbirds Migrate?
Every hummingbird does not migrate. Out of 300 species, only 20 species often migrate. The most famous are Rufous hummingbirds, Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Allen’s hummingbirds, and Black-chinned hummingbirds. They spend the winter in the southern areas and move to the north during the nesting period.
The migration period of hummingbirds starts in mid-July and extends to the beginning of September. Some hummingbirds do not migrate far in winter, while others may travel long distances during a single migration. The hummingbird’s migration depends upon the seasons and their primary food source. When the protein and nectar from the flower sacres, it signals to move to warmer regions.
North Americans welcome these tiny birds when they make their seasonal movements to their yards, gardens, and their hummingbird feeders. Some birds make their journey from north to south in various parts of the United States and Canada. They can be seen in the Americas to Alaska, through parts of Canada, and the United States. And then to the tip of South America and the Caribbean.
The timing of the hummingbird’s migration depends on several factors. The amount of daylight and the angle of the sun concerning the bird’s location have a role in determining when hummingbirds migrate. They actively eat more as a season to gain energy for the lengthy journey.
How long do hummingbirds live?
The lifespan of hummingbirds can vary widely based on their species, habitat, diet, and location. Most hummingbird species live for 3 to 7 years. It does not sound much, but when we consider its size and supercharged metabolism, this is a long lifespan.
Some large species like Buff-Bellied Hummingbirds or the Giant Hummingbird live significantly longer than other species. The longest-lived hummingbird is the female Broad-tailed hummingbird that was named as an adult in Colorado in 1976 when she was 12 years old.
When we consider the bird’s lifespan, we usually calculate the life expectancy of adult birds, but in reality, hummingbirds do not even pass the nestling stage. 50% to 78% of the babies will die before they fledge.
Facts about hummingbirds
People love to watch the activities of hummingbirds and feed them. They plant flowering plants to attract hummingbirds to have nectar. Here are some of the interesting facts about them.
🔷 Hummingbirds are tiny and their bodies weigh between 2 to 20 grams.
🔷 During the time of migration, they eat more than normal to store extra fat to travel great distances. The initial storing of fat is important.
🔷 Other birds travel in groups from one place to another, but in the case of hummingbirds, they are solo travelers.
🔷 The amazing and fascinating fact about hummingbirds during migration is that they often return to the same location year after year.
🔷 Male hummingbirds usually take off first and females and juveniles follow after the departure of males.
🔷 The hummingbirds go into a deep sleep to forage for food. This state is known as torpor, in which the body temperature of the bird drops, the heart rate increases, and the metabolism rate coms by 60%. All this helps them to conserve energy to set out for migration.
🔷 After the state of torpor, they eat up to 255 more of their daily requirement within a short time.
🔷 A hummingbird’s wings flap between 50 and 200 per second depending on the direction and purpose of the flight.
🔷 The hummingbirds have a unique adaptation for a flight that can reach up to 60 miles per hour in a dive.
If you live in an area where you are on a migration route for birds then, you can see hummingbirds because they are popularly known as migrating birds. When they appear in the backyard of the house they make us remember the seasonal changes.
When we look at the population of hummingbirds, they are endangered. The major concerns about their status are habitat loss, destruction, climate change, food supply, and migration routes. There is no doubt about the amazing ability of the tiny birds and their migration journey is an incredible journey. But these species contend with bad weather, predators, and exhaustion.
If you are a hummingbird lover, you can create a safe and welcoming habitat for them. All we have to remember is that it is our duty to save these birds from climatic changes or environmental issues by reducing pollution or man-made disasters.