Hummingbirds - Migration

Hummingbirds are one of the most interesting birds in the world. In the U.S. they breed mostly in the through out the country. When migration starts in late summer and fall they usually winter in Mexico, Central America and South America. Many migrate from South America across the Gulf of Mexico, usually a non-stop flight when returning to the U.S. for their breeding season. Those who are not strong at the onset of migration, perish in the Gulf of Mexico. They stop along the gulf states in the U.S. for rest and to rebuild their endurance.
Some will remain there, while others spread across the U.S. and Canada for breeding season. A few will go all the way to Alaska. A new record in hummingbird migration was set recently when a rufus hummingbird banded in Tallahassee, Florida, released and on June 28, 2010 was caught in a bander's net in Chenega Bay, Alaska. A distance of 3,500 miles. Other species such a some terns fly over 10,000 during their migration.
Written by Jack Kidd. for more on Hummingbirds see:


Hummingbird hovering above flower

Flight of Fancy

Marvels of micro-engineering,  hummingbirds are the bird world's featherweight champions.

By Mike Klesius
Photograph by Luis A. Mazariegos
A flash of sapphire, a flutter of wings, and the tiny bird—or was it an insect?—vanishes, the briefest mirage. Moments later it reappears, this time at a better angle. It's a bird all right, a thumb-size dervish with hyperkinetic wings that can beat 80 times a second, producing the faintest hum. Tail feathers paddle, steering gently in three dimensions. As the bird stares into the trumpet of a bright orange flower, a thread-thin tongue flickers from its needle beak. A sunbeam glances off its iridescent feathers, the reflected color as dazzling as a gemstone hung in a sunny window. Little wonder hummingbirds  inspire heartfelt affection and stuttering efforts at description. Even reserved scientists can't resist such words as "beautiful," "stunning," and "exotic."
A greater wonder is that the seemingly fragile hummingbird is one of the toughest beasts in the animal kingdom. Some 330 species thrive in diverse and often brutal environments: from Alaska to Argentina; from the Arizona desert to the coast of Nova Scotia; from the lowland forests of Brazil to the 15,000-foot-plus (4,600 meters) snow line of the Andes. (Mysteriously, the birds are found only in the New World.)
"They're living at the edge of what's possible for vertebrates, and they're mastering it," says Karl Schuchmann, an ornithologist at Germany's Alexander Koenig Zoological Institute and the Brehm Fund. Schuchmann knows of a captive hummer that lived 17 years. "Imagine the durability of an organism of only five or six grams to live that long," he says. Its cranberry-size heart, which averages 500 beats a minute (while perching!), would have thumped four and a half billion times, nearly twice the total for a 70-year-old person.
Yet these little birds are durable only in life. In death their delicate, hollow bones almost never fossilize. This was one reason for the astonishment that greeted the recent discovery of a jumble of 30-million-year-old fossil bird remains that may include an ancestral hummingbird. Like modern hummers, the fossil specimens had long, slender bills and shortened upper wing bones topped by a knob that may have let them rotate in the shoulder socket for hovering flight.