Hummingbird Travels

Male Rufous Hummingbird (


This is taken from a Netlines newsletter article by Fred Dietrich, bird bander, published by the Hummer/Bird Study Group in 2009.  (I copied the page but forgot to copy the date.)  Pretty cool stuff!

A female Rufous hummingbird that was banded on January 13, 2010 in Tallahassee, Florida, was recaptured on June 28, 2010 in Chenega Bay, Alaska, in Prince William Sound.  This is an incredible 3,523-mile straight-line distance from where she was banded only six months before!

This recapture is by far the longest distance ever recorded for an species of hummingbird between the banding and recapture site.  The previous record was a bird that was recaptured on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, after being banded in Lafayette, Louisiana, about 2,200 miles.

This 3.7 gram bird, about 1/8 of an ounce, was only 6 months old when she took off from Alaska, heading for her wintering grounds.  She was completely on her own, no experience to rely on, no flock of hummingbirds to fly with (they don’t flock), and no mom to follow on this long round-trip journey of more than 7,000 miles.  At the time she was recaptured, she was just completing her first year of life and appeared no worse for the wear, other than being covered with pollen from flowers she had been feeding on, getting ready to begin her next migration cycle.


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