HUMMINGBIRD MIGRATION

HUMMINGBIRD MIGRATION: It is well-known that the Ruby-throated Hummingbird migrates south of its breeding range for the winter. Many of them will cross the Gulf of Mexico, a 900 mile (1,450 km) non-stop trip over the water. But before that trip, they will stop over in Texas along the coast. One particular area where this happens is in Rockport-Fulton, where the bird’s migration has become a yearly event in September.

The photos below illustrate parts of what’s taking place during that time, and what influence this migration has on life in those towns. For example, there are guided bus tours to visit some residents’ properties ‘hosting’ hummingbirds. Sometimes there can be hundreds of them in one backyard!

Banding sessions are open to the public and performed by ‘master banders’ certified by the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory (such as master bander Susan Heath shown below). Photographer Jodi Arsenault also mentioned that some hummingbirds have been observed by her party from a ship about 150 miles (240 km) south of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico!

People plant gardens to attract hummingbirds - Rockport, TX - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
People plant gardens to attract hummingbirds – Rockport, TX – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Trapping the hummingbirds before handling - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Trapping the hummingbirds before handling – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Each bird is banded, catalogued and released - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Each bird is banded, catalogued and released – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Young male, red neck feathers starting to appear - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Juvenile male, red neck feathers starting to appear – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Trumpet vine flowers attract hummingbirds - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Orange, nectar-rich trumpet vine flowers attract hummingbirds – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Inside a net - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Inside a net – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Blowing gently on the belly exposes how much fat bird has stored - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Blowing gently on the belly exposes how much fat the bird has stored – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Just released - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Just released – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbird at a feeder - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbird at a feeder – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbirds are then examined, weighed, & measured - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbirds are examined, weighed, & measured – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbirds can eat up to 3 times their weight daily - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbirds can eat up to 3 times their weight daily – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbird hearts beat at up to 1,300 a minute - Hearing-feeling it - Sept. 17, 2016 - © Jodi Arsenault
Hummingbird hearts beat at up to 1,300 times a minute – Hearing-feeling it – Sept. 17, 2016 – © Jodi Arsenault

BACK TO THE TOP