Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hummingbirds Headed South

We love hummingbirds, especially the ones that fly around Sedona. That's why we call our house, "Casita Colibri," Little House of the Hummingbirds.

Each fall thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds migrate from Canada through Mississippi to their winter home in Mexico and Central America. Moving like a river of birds, they traverse the fields and woods and then make a non-stop 500-mile flight over the Gulf of Mexico.

Vital to our ecosystem as pollinators, 9 species are Critically Endangered, 14 Endangered, 19 Near Threatened, and 6 Vulnerable, totaling 48 species worldwide.

Hummingbird habitat is being lost to development and fragmentation, as forests give way to logging, and crops. All of these changes can impact hummingbird populations. The status of the Ruby-throated population is robust, however, and bodes for a spectacular migration in Mississippi, where the little birds are already arriving.

8,100 people gathered to watch the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds fly over Mississippi, the largest crowd ever gathered at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center for the ninth Hummingbird Migration Celebration. Hummingbird banders tagged a record 281 birds over three days and recaptured one adult female that had been banded at the center on Sept. 9, 2006.

"Hummingbirds may be small in size, but they are mighty in their impact as ambassadors for nature and conservation," said Madge Lindsay, executive director of Audubon Mississippi. "When you see one of these fragile looking birds up close, you can't help but be inspired by the amazing diversity of life on our planet. It is breathtaking to think that a creature weighing a tenth of an ounce can survive such a perilous, long journey."

Tips for attracting hummers to your backyard from Audubon here.

Photo by Bill Stripling

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