December: Focus on Food
Hummingbirds on the tropical wintering grounds are focused on feeding and completing their molt. Growing new feathers uses lots of calories, and the tiny hummers need to bulk up again. It's easy when they are surrounded with lush tropical flowers to fuel their insect-catching flights. Meanwhile, outliers are hummingbirds that decided to stay along the Gulf coast each winter instead of continuing to Central America, and there are always a few hummers that stay up north. Another small population winters in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. No one knows why. Each individual bird has a lot of choices.
Image: Bud Hensley