March. Despite the freezing temperatures at night, there are signs of spring. In a few weeks, the male Rufous Hummingbirds will arrive and many of us who put out feeders will see that the birds are behaving like they know where to look for them. The males arrive in our yard in Garibaldi Highlands very close to March 26, and the females one to two weeks later. The same individuals seem to return. The males tend to leave in late July, and the females and juveniles leave in August.
The migration of these tiny birds is unusual. They:
- winter mostly in Southern Mexico.
- migrate longer distances than any other hummingbirds.
- migrate up the Pacific Coast to their breeding grounds, which can be as far north as Alaska.
- follow the same migration routes, often stopping at the same flowers and feeders year after year.
- start their migration south as early as late June.
- follow a clockwise route and fly south over the Rockies, instead of retracing their northbound route.
For more information about the Rufous Hummingbirds:
Thanks to Kwan Choo, ARPS, for these images. (Male Rufous Hummingbird above left and female at right.)