As temperatures continue to rise here in the Ottawa area (along with water levels, unfortunately), we have been fortunate to have been spotting a number of our spring and summer migrants over the past few weeks.
As reports and images pour into our social media channels and our Facebook Group, the excitement of spring birding is just about at an all-time high. As we continue to progress into the spring season, we are still missing a few of our regular summer visitors, one such bird being the ruby-throated hummingbird.
These pint-sized birds are a favourite of many and one bird that certainly reminds most of us of memories of summers past. When it comes to birds so synonymous with summer, not many other species can match our hummingbirds as they truly await consistent warmer weather, particularly at night, before they arrive.
As with many migrants, these small birds make the most of the evenings, migrating great distances during the nighttime. As such, temperatures have a massive role in influencing their arrival here in Eastern Ontario.
How to Track Hummingbirds
Aside from continually monitoring your backyard hummingbird feeders (are yours up yet?), there are a number of online tools you can use to see how they are progressing on their northern journey.
Aside from our social channels and Facebook Group, resources such as eBird are useful as citizens across North America chart their sightings of all species of birds. In addition to that, and one specializing in hummingbirds alone, is Hummingbird Central – an online portal specific to hummingbird migration.
While this resource tracks all species of hummingbirds, you do have the ability to track specific species as well. As we are only treated to the beauty of the ruby-throated hummingbird here in Ontario, they are easily identified in red and are often seen scattered across the eastern seaboard of Canada and the United States.
We’ve been keeping an eye on our hummers and over the past 10-or-so days, they have made amazing progress towards us here in the Great White North. During the middle of April, they were barely into the northern states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and Ohio but as of our latest check, they are now beginning to knock on the door of the Canadian border.
With a little luck from Mother Nature and some warmer temperatures, we should expect to see some hummingbirds within the next few weeks as they continue their northern flights.
Now is as good a time as any to get those hummingbird feeders cleaned, filled and hung in your yard as they will be looking for a good source of food once they arrive!