First points first. Hummingbirds do not drive on the backs of

geese. Weunderstand why caveman may have thought this (with all due respect come cavemen), however why walk this legend still persist today?

Just think of the implications:

many geese winter in the southerly U.S. The would mean all our hummingbirds would have actually to obtain off and transfer to the duck-express in order to travel further south, since most that our reproduction hummingbirds winter in Mexico and central America. Geese don"t migrate early on enough - they"re still method north in the Arctic as soon as hummers have to be already south, sipping tropic nectar cocktails. They would certainly turn right into hummer-sicles wait on geese!Assuming there are much more hummingbirds than geese, every goose would have actually to lug many hummingbirds. Exactly how would the hummers sort out who gets shot-gun? Geese don"t stop-over in spot of flower plants during migration, so what"s a hummingbird come eat? also when you"re talk in a car, girlfriend still gain hungry. Hummingbird 7-Elevens would certainly be popping-up everywhere.Now that"s all cleared up, below are some facts:

All by Myself

It"s fairly amazing, but hummingbirds do move by themselves, under their very own power, and also as solitary migrants, no in flocks.

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Hummingbirds migrate due to the fact that it is an innate, genetic instinct. Determinants such as weather, size of daylight, & fat buildup stimulate migration.

Migration routes and timing differ from varieties to types and even population to population.Most of the more than 300 hummingbird species living in the tropics carry out not migrate due to the fact that of the constant warm temperatures and abundant food supplies.

But most of the species that breed north that Mexico in the U.S. & Canada do migrate to different wintering grounds. There space some exceptions of populaces that continue to be along the Pacific Coast and also the mexican border where problems are perfect year-round.

Longest Haul

Rufous Hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) make the longest migrate of any type of of the Trochilidae (Hummingbird Family) and, in proportion to size, among the longest bird migrations.

It breeds as far north together Alaska and also winters in main America, a street of ~2700 miles. This is is equivalent to 49,000,000 human body lengths. This is the longest migrate of any type of bird in terms of body length.

Non-stop Flights

Many Ruby-throated Hummingbirds travel much more than 2,000 miles to go from Panama come their reproduction destination in Canada. World wondered how the Ruby-throat might cross the Gulf of Mexico without stopping to refuel, a minimum expedition of ~500 mile (the shortest distance across the Gulf).

To price this question, R.C. Lasiewski conducted a research in 1962,The energetics of migrating hummingbirds (Condor 64:324).As a result of his experiments v hovering hummingbirds in metabolic chambers, Lasiewski concluded the a masculine Ruby-throated hummingbird, weighing about 4.5 g, of i beg your pardon 2 g was fat, can fly nonstop because that 26 hours, spend the fat in ~ the rate of 0.69 calories per hour.

At an median speed the 25 mph every hour (40 km/hour), the bird"s flying selection would be around 606 miles (975 km) - quickly enough to expectancy the Gulf of Mexico.

In a more recent study, Calder and also Jones (1989) utilizing arrival and departure masses and rates of gain from Rufous Hummingbird banding data, established that a 747 mile (1,202 km) trip of a Rufous shows up to have been possible. At an airspeed of 43 km/h, the Rufous was able to travel 747 mile in 28 hrs or 2 373-mi (601 km) foot in 14-hour job apiece, relying on unknowns that tailwinds & successful refueling points.

Therefore, ~ above its 2,700-mile trip from Mexico come Alaska, a Rufous Hummingbird will avoid at least 4 time to refuel.


Compared to other birds, the metabolic prices of hummingbirds are extremely high. Because that example, a 4-gram hummingbird has actually a basal metabolic rate of 1,400 calories per kilogram. Compare that to a 121 gram mourning dove which has a rate of 127 calories per kilogram.

According to bill Calder, a college of Arizona hummingbird expert, the takes around a week for a moving hummingbird to replace the protein and fat metabolized on a completed trip segment.

So for the Rufous that renders at the very least 4 refueling stops from Mexico come Alaska, their journey may take everywhere from 4-8 weeks. Refueling stop may even be longer than 2 weeks, depending on weather, headwinds, and nectar availability.

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Nectar Corridors

The breeding season & initiation the hummingbird migration

is closely tied to the flowering periods of their significant nectar sources. In temperate latitudes, this coincides to the northern and southern springs once flowering plants begin to bloom.

The rigors that hummingbird hike coupled v high metabolic prices requires these small birds to refuel often when travel to their breeding grounds. So as soon as they stumble upon her feeder along the way, it"s favor they"ve landing at the all-you-can-eat buffet, for for free! (unless there"s wild competition).