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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ruby-throats arrive!

Hello all,

Inspired by Mariana Pesthy's report of a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at her feeder 4/18 last year I put my feeder out early this year (4/1) We spotted our first arrival while at the dinner table tonight. It was a male. It took a nice long drink and hasn't reappeared. There is a report on Delaware birds of a ruby-throat in Chester County today a well.

Nick's book gives 4/18 as an extreme early spring date.

Since I have been compiler first arrival dates reported to me have been 4/30/08 (Janis Zane), 4/26/09 (Janis Zane), 4/18/10 (Mariana Pesthy) and mine today 4/20/11.

Interestingly all of these first arrivals have been males. This sent me to my trusty Peterson Guide to Hummingbirds by Sheri Williamson. Sure enough she states that male ruby-throats migrate earlier than females in spring and fall.
She also gives a spring arrival date map with a line drawn through northern Virginia & the Delmarva labeled 4/11 and the next line drawn through southern NY state & northern Connecticut labeled 4/21. So these guys are right on time!

The consistency of migration dates of birds is always fascinating.

Anybody have similar or earlier dates than these?


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