General Question

seVen's avatar

Can humming bird really fly so many miles across the Gulf of Mexico without a stop?

Asked by seVen (3464points) July 3rd, 2009 from iPhone

I heard it somewhere it can.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

tyrantxseries's avatar

MIGRATION: The Rufous Hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird, more than 5,000 miles a year. It flies from central Mexico to Alaska and back again. Hummingbirds migrate, not in flocks, but each one entirely alone. Males leave first followed by females several weeks later. On the south-bound journey the young leave last, flying alone on their first migration with no adult to guide them.

In its migration to Mexico, the tiny Ruby-throated hummingbird, almost unbelievably, tackles the sea crossing directly. Its cruising speed is about 27 miles an hour, so if conditions are favorable, it can make the transit, non-stop, in around 18 hours. But the passage is a formidable one and it taxes the hummingbird to the limit of it endurance. A head wind, even a mild one, may hamper it so severely that it will never reach the far shore and perish at sea.
Ref: http://www.mschloe.com/hummer/huminfo.htm
yay google

Bluefreedom's avatar

Apparently they can. Wikipedia had this to say:

Studies of hummingbirds’ metabolisms are highly relevant to the question of why a migrating Ruby-throated Hummingbird can cross 800 km (500 mi) of the Gulf of Mexico on a nonstop flight, as field observations suggest it does. This hummingbird, like other birds preparing to migrate, stores up fat to serve as fuel, thereby augmenting its weight by as much as 100 percent and hence increasing the bird’s potential flying time.

gooch's avatar

Some stow away on the backs of migrating geese.

syz's avatar

Every year.

tyrantxseries's avatar

@gooch
MYTHS: [FALSE]Hummingbirds migrate on the backs of geese.
[TRUTH] Hummingbirds DO NOT migrate on the backs of geese. Migration has been thoroughly studied and each hummingbird migrates alone.

MYTH:[FALSE] Leaving feeder up too long will deter migration.
[TRUTH]: Migration is triggered by the Hummer’s internal clock and the amount of sunshine [length of day]

MYTH: [FALSE] Hummingbirds eat only nectar.
[TRUTH]: They will also eat insects to fullfil their protein needs.

Ref: http://www.mschloe.com/hummer/huminfo.htm

Darwin's avatar

Boy, are they hungry when they first hit land, though. Some yards here in South Texas may have several hundred hungry hummers in them as the birds make their way back north.

Garebo's avatar

They always get refueled over the Dry Tortugas for the eastern flyway.

susanc's avatar

It’s not geese. That’s silly. It’s angels.

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