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“In Your Own Backyard” Ready. Set. Migrate!

Are we ready for the “Flying Jewels” to grace us with
their presence again? I’m going to have to declare a resounding, Y-E-S! The
great hummingbird voyage is currently underway as these tiny winged creatures
migrate back to the United States from their wintering grounds in southern
Mexico and northern Panama.

OK, first things first—let’s put things into perspective: hummingbirds (specifically, Ruby-throated species) weigh, on average, around 3
grams. They travel over 2,000 miles in each direction during migration times
and must double their body weight before each journey in order to support their
tiny frames during their amazingly long travels. By the time they reach the
U.S. in the spring, they may only weigh around 2.5 grams, down from 6 grams!
And, lest we forget, one single stint of their voyage is a NON-STOP flight of
up to 500 miles that takes roughly  ………wait for it……..18-22 hours!

Now, for the migration logistics—and the INNATE
INTELLIGENCE OF THESE MAGICAL BEINGS: the entire migration process spans a
period of about 3 months. The males (again, specifically, Ruby-throated
species) will set out on the journey first, with the females departing
approximately 10 days later. Much like our commercial aircraft, whereby flights
are scheduled to take off at various times in order to prevent accidents,
hummingbirds follow the same flight scheduling during migration. Instinctively,
these “feathered jets” know that if they were to all depart at once, and a
weather catastrophe were to occur, it could likely destroy the entire species.
Hence, only a few Ruby-throats will be spotted in the beginning of migration,
while the remainder of the birds will arrive over a span of several weeks.

I don’t know about you, but as I write this, I get a lump
in my throat and overwhelming feelings of honor, respect and appreciation for
these beloved creatures. As the Spring Equinox invites our migrating friends
back into the states, let’s remember the voyage they have just taken to get
here. Let’s send a quite prayer out to Hummingbird Spirit and thank them for
the beauty, joy, and magic they add to our lives and our planet. In their honor, let’s seek the EXTRAORDINARY within the ORDINARY!

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