Fascinating Hummingbird Migration Map Shows Just How Astonishing Their Journey Is

Springtime means warmer temperatures and beautiful blooms, but it also means that hummingbirds are making their way back into the United States. Every winter, these tiny birds migrate south to warmer areas, but between February and June they return to their northern breeding grounds.

The avian experts at Hummingbird Central are tracking the annual migration with an interactive online map, and it's changing the way people are thinking about these critters. They may be small, but they are mighty too!

Woah--that's a lot of hummingbirds! Each bird-shaped mark on the map represents a reported hummingbird sighting, and each color represents a different species.

This is the map's color-coded key:

- Dark red: Ruby-throated

- Brown: Rufous

- Black: Black-chinned

- Red: Anna's

- Orange: Allen's

- Purple: Costas'

- Pink: Calliope

- Dark Blue: Blue-throated

- Salmon: Broad-billed

- Green: Broad-tailed

- Lime green: Buff-bellied

- Light blue: Rivoli's

- Olive: Other/Unknown

Anyone in the United States can submit their own hummingbird sighting, though few new sightings will be added to the map this late in migration season. Hummingbird Central's website explains that "priority is given to posting sightings along the leading edge of the migration," so if the bird you spotted hasn't been as far north as your location yet--send in a report!

As you can see on the map, certain locations see more variety in hummingbird species than others. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only one spotted in many eastern states, though the west will usually see several species per state.

"There are typically four types of hummingbirds found in Colorado," explains the Denver Gazette, "including Rufous, Black-chinned, Calliope, and Broad-tailed hummingbirds." This varies by state, of course, though any species of hummingbird will be a rewarding find for any bird watcher.

Check out this video of 2022's hummingbird migration map to see what this year's might look like toward the end of the season. We're only a few weeks away, though, so there won't be long to wait!

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