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March 21, 2020 4 min read

By Jesmar Arévalo

If we take a moment to enjoy and admire the surroundings, we will notice the abundant elements of nature. Every place we visit, we see beautiful plants and birds as we pass by. During the months of spring and summer it is common to see lots of hummingbirds flying around. That led me to the question, where are these beautiful tiny birds coming from? Well, I have decided to do some research and have found an interesting story behind it that I would like to share.

Hummingbirds might look fragile at first sight, but it as it turns out, they are incredibly smart and able to fly long distances. Every year they complete a migration process traveling all over the United States. They can fly up to 23 miles a day, and they have specific techniques to optimize the use of the energy they store in their body.

The Humming Bird

Several reasons justify this migration. To understand it, we need to know a little bit more about hummingbirds’ lifestyle and needs. These unique birds feed on the nectar they find in flowers. They will also feed on insects. For this reason they have a low flight pattern which allows them to see the food supplies better.

Besides, hummingbird’s body shape is different from most birds that usually take long-distance migration trips. The fight of hummingbirds gets harder during cold fronts, strong wind, and heavy rain. They can’t travel long distances under these weather conditions, so they must be prepared and start the migration process in time to avoid these challenges. Like humans, they get ready for winter!

There are lots of theories about what triggers this migration, but in general, people believe these birds can sense the changes in daylight time. The decreased availability of nectar and insects to feed on is another factor detected by hummingbirds, which helps them get ready to go to a safer place.  And on a time schedule that allows them to avoid bad weather and food shortages.

By that time, this smart tiny bird has ensured the weight gain needed as the energy deposit to get safely to its destination. The destination that will act as their winter refuge.

To find their winter home, they will fly to places as far away as Mexico or even Central America. And after their winter stay, fly back to North America.

For years, groups of people in different locations within the U.S. have created sighting reports adding to the Hummingbirds’ Migration Map. From these reports it has been established that the males will arrive first. They will usually come back to Texas and Louisiana by late February and early to mid-March. They won’t arrive in the northern states until April or even May.

Even though hummingbird’s migration season may change from year to year, it has been proven it’s always related to weather conditions. And their behaviour is also different between hummingbird species. There are groups of people all over the U.S that not only have dedicated time to study these birds’ behaviour but have also created a conscience about the importance of this migration process that takes place.

Hummingbird’s migration is not just a random activity. The migration process guarantees their survival and breeding, and its existence is fundamental in keeping nature’s balance. This bird is known as the tiniest on earth, and it is responsible for a big part of the pollination process of flowers. The pollination process is part of nature’s life cycle. If this process doesn’t take place, it wouldn’t be possible to grow some fruits and vegetables.

As I went deeper into my research, the topic got even more fascinating to me, and I am sure that it will to you. It became an even more important subject once I discovered some hummingbird species are about to become extinct. From what we’ve learned, it’s easy to understand how serious this matter is. And if you’re asking yourself what can I do to help? Well I decided to write about it, and there are several support groups you could join.

Don’t hesitate! There’s still hope. As was stated before, there are groups of people devoted to studying hummingbirds’ behaviour and migration processes. This information has helped a lot to understand and take actions to protect them by trying to help guarantee the completion of the entire migration process.

 

Remember too that the simple fact of reporting a hummingbird sighting in a specific location could help these people a lot. It’s getting more common every day to find hummingbird feeders in homes. People decided to contribute by leaving these devices available on their yards. This way, birds are able to find food and water to get the energy they need to continue their trip.

You could also participate in any of the Hummingbird Festivals that get celebrated all over the world. In these annual meetings you will be able to take a closer look at hummingbird behaviour, or perhaps buy a hummingbird-attractive plant to take it home.  These plants will attract hummingbirds to your home, which will not only beautify your surroundings but contribute to the well being and longevity of their existence.


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