The annual migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds is remarkable, among many remarkable natural history events. The males come first in spring, flying from their wintering grounds in central America. They're scouting out good nesting sites, and establishing territorities, often returning to the same area in North America that they've been before.
One of the ways that I like to follow hummingbird migration is through Journey North's weekly e-mails. Journey North is an excellent 'real-time' website that has K-12 students, teachers, and other interested folks post sightings of hummingbirds, monarchs, and whooping cranes, monitoring their journeys 'north' and 'south,' in addition to lots of other 'cool' stuff.
Their postings this week have hummingbirds spotted in Leesville, SC -- near Aiken, and in Greensboro, GA -- south of Athens. I'm preparing 'nectar' for my feeders right now. 1/4 cup of white sugar per 1 cup of water, boiled and cooled is a perfect fuel for hungry hummingbirds.
I've been meaning to get out the feeders all this week, but now that I know they're cl0se -- it's time to make our garden seem like a really good site for breeding and nesting. It's still early for any of the native nectar plants -- we have some coral honeysuckle in bloom, but that's about it. The males are also using sap from yellow-bellied sapsucker holes; they follow them north in their migration.