One of the things I love most about spring is the return of the hummingbirds. I spend an immeasurable amount of time watching them on my porch, and over the years, I've grown to consider them little friends who don't stay around nearly long enough. Once they've established and are comfortable, they fly all around me without a care in the world.

Every year, as winter relinquishes its hold on the land, a marvel unfolds in New York State—a ballet of vibrant hues and delicate wings: the migration of hummingbirds. These diminutive avian wonders, renowned for their iridescent plumage and astonishing agility, embark on an extraordinary journey to their northern breeding grounds.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
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In the early spring months, as the air warms and flora awakens, hummingbirds begin their northward trek from their wintering grounds in Central America and Mexico. Guided by an innate compass and fueled by an insatiable quest for nectar, they navigate over vast distances, crossing daunting geographical barriers with remarkable precision.

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The vast majority of the hummingbirds we see in New York State are of the ruby throated variety. Sexually dimorphic, males have a brilliant red patch on their throats that sunlight amplifies. Both sexes are bright green. Females do not have a throat patch. Every once in a while, you may see a Rufous Hummingbird, but they are very rare.

Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash
Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash
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My secret weapon for knowing when to prepare for my little buddies heading to my neck of the woods is the interactive hummingbird migration map that can be found at Hummingbird Central. The map is updated daily and tracks 13 species of hummingbirds. This will tell you when to fill your feeders! As of today, hummingbirds have been seen as far north as central Pennsylvania. It may be a week or two until we see them in Central New York.

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