Hummingbird Myth


It’s a myth. Hummingbirds do not migrate under the wings of geese. I don’t know how the myth got started, but it’s not true.

Hummingbirds migrate much earlier than geese, like in July, whereas Canada geese go south three months later in October.

Geese overwinter in the southern United States, but hummingbirds fly across the Gulf of Mexico to Central America. It’s a 500-mile flight across the Gulf.

A hummingbird feeder in Manitoba is a sight to behold, a point in focus you can sit and watch for hours as the birds fly forward, backward, sideways and straight up, eating suger water you have put in the feeder. They spend 90 percent of their time hovering to feed. This takes tremendous energy, so a diet of sugar water is necessary to give them enough energy to fly.

Hummingbirds beat their wings from eight to 200 times per second. They can fly up to 60 miles per hour, but average speeds are 20 to 45 mph.

The name hummingbird comes from the buzzing sound of their fast-flapping wings.

Not all hummingbird species are the same. Some migrate and some don’t.

There are more than 300 hummingbird species in the world. Only eight species breed regularly in the United States and Canada. The rest of the species are in the tropics and do not migrate. The names of some of the species are Anna’s, Black Chinned, Allen’s, Costa’s, Rufous and Broad Tailed. They can breed together to make hybrid species, so it makes identifying hummingbirds a big challenge.

Much information about hummingbirds comes from Melissa Mayntz, a birder and a writer.

I have looked all over for an answer to how the migration myth got started, and can’t find one.


More Stories