In our migration column “On the Move,” we present species distribution maps from eBird for specific time periods so you can compare where birds are at different times of year. One of the birds featured in our June issue is Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
These two maps show where eBird users reported Ruby-throated Hummingbird in January and May over the past five years. In January, the bird is found from Mexico to Costa Rica and in the coastal United States from the mid-Atlantic to Florida and west along the Gulf coast to South Texas. In May, hummingbirds spread across the eastern states and Canada. Birds from Central America and Mexico may follow the coast north or cross the Gulf of Mexico in one non-stop flight. The purple squares near the Alberta/British Columbia border represent the westernmost part of the breeding range, which generally matches the distribution of eastern deciduous and mixed boreal forests in North America. Lucky observers may see hummingbirds gathering spider webs, which they use for their nests, or large numbers of protein-providing small insects.
A version of this article appeared in “Birding Briefs” in the June 2014 issue of BirdWatching. Subscribe.