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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Yucatán bids farewell to migrating hummingbirds, songbirds

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Ruby-throated hummingbirds are leaving Mexico and Central America for their summer nesting season up north. Photo: Joe Schmid/Creative Commons/Wikipedia

The spring migration has begun. Say bye-bye to some of our hummingbirds and songbirds until they make a reverse trip in the fall.

Untold numbers of migrating ruby-throated hummingbirds fly non-stop 600 miles across the Gulf of Mexico from the Yucatán Peninsula and Central America each spring and fall.

Even to experts, it’s amazing to think that a tiny bird weighing no more than a nickel could fly 18 hours straight across the Gulf without resting or refueling.

Although modern radar studies and other research bear this out, ornithologists at one time struggled to see how such tiny creatures could be up for the journey. One theory had them flying over land across Mexico, making refueling stops along the way. Some even thought they perhaps flew piggyback across the Gulf, picking up a ride from ducks and geese. Even that was easier to picture than a non-stop flight.

The hummingbirds already are arriving in Georgia for their nesting season, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A birdwatcher in South Georgia said two male hummers showed up in her yard this week, finding fresh hummingbird nectar and five feeders in her yard.

Migrating songbirds will follow suit in the next few weeks.

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