Migration Update: September 28, 2012
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Week #6: Still Seeing Hummingbirds? Let Us Know!
September is ending and hummingbird traffic is tapering off. They do remain in states where suitable habitat can be found, and very few hardy singles are still reported in Ontario and some northern states. This week, enjoy a rescue story and discover how hummingbirds survive cold nights.

Please continue report your sightings weekly!

Tip: DO NOT REPORT if hummers are gone. The map shows where hummers are present.

Migration Map
Hummingbird fall sightings
Animation | Live Map
Highlights from the Migration Trail

The number of sighting reports has dropped by nearly half in the past week. Double-digit reports dropped, while reports of single birds at flowers and feeders increased everywhere. The calendar is about to turn to October, and it won't be long before we say, "That's all, folks."

Going, Going—but Not Quite Gone

As hummer numbers dwindle, sightings are fewer and farther between. Some people are surprised to see hummers now:

"I have not seen any hummers since Monday," said Diane in Salina Kansas. "Most hummingbirds are now well on their way south, but I like to keep one feeder out until after the first really hard freeze. Stragglers are always a possibility... injured birds, sick birds, old birds, young birds, birds that dallied up north, for whatever reason, and are just now heading south."

"Two sightings last week, 1 today (Sep. 25), feeding off flowers. Nights are getting cold. They are still here in Canada," said Doris in Missisauga, Ontario. "With such a long journey ahead of them from here, I worry that feeders will still be up for them along their journey—and not taken down already."

Images of the Week

Hummoingbird at feeder
Yesss! Warm Nectar!
Hummingbird in palm of hand
School Saves Hummer!
Hummers in Action: Videoclip

Hummers can still find suitable habitat to keep them north of the Mexican border. In Needville, Texas, Leo Davis had one of the week's highest counts of hummingbirds at the feeder. He videotaped 15 hummingbirds there Sep. 17, joking that he's helping the hummingbirds brush up on their Spanish before they head south for the winter.

How many hummers can you count as you view the video clip?

Hummingbird video: buzzing around feeder
Video: Leo Davis
Highest Feeder Count?
Coping With Cold: Torpor Saves Hummers

Many observers this week were surprised to see hummingbirds when temperatures were in the 30s or 40s at night.

As long as a hummingbird can find enough food to stay active, its body can generate enough heat to stay alive. But hummers can only eat when it's light. What happens when they sleep at night? How can such a tiny warm-blooded animal keep up its body temperature without running out of energy? Try our experiment to help you figure it out. Explore how hummingbirds are adapted for something called torpor. Discover why and how a hummingbird has to warm up its body the moment it awakes. This lesson helps explain a lot of what we observe in these final weeks of hummingbird migration:

Tip: Keep your feeder up all day for stragglers. Take it down at night so hummers don't drink dangerously cold liquid.

Cold hummingbird in Missouri
Photo: Peter Connolly
Brrrrrr! Colder Weather
Hummingbird feeder with warming covers
Clues in Photos
Journal: Create a Word Cloud

A word cloud is a graphic representation of words. It's a creative way to communicate the central ideas of a topic. Use the Internet to create your own word cloud to summarize discoveries you've made during the hummingbirds' journey south. Use our journal page to brainstorm your words and to link to our sample, with directions:

Send us your Word Clouds; we'll share them!

Word Cloud: Hummingbird Words
Word Cloud: Try It!
The next "Still Seeing Hummingbirds?" reminder will be posted on October 5.