Late Departure Dates

If a feeder or Hummingbird Garden is available, it can be observed at the beginning of the school year in late August or early September to determine how frequently it is being used. Adult male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) begin departing their breeding grounds as early as mid-August, but young birds in particular may linger on into early or mid-October.

By watching the feeder or Hummingbird Garden on a daily basis, students (or other observers) will--almost by default--be able to determine the date of the last hummingbird appearance of the year. This date can be reported to Operation RubyThroat via PROJECTS so it can be compared with "late dates" from across the continental U.S.

Since the adult male RTHU has a distinctive red gorget, it should be possible to determine the late date for that age and sex classification; however, young males resemble females, so if the last bird to depart does NOT have a red throat it cannot be positively identified as to age and sex.

NOTE: On the other end of the migratory pathway, observers in Mexico and Central America can be on the lookout for the arrival--not departure--of the first RTHU of the autumn season.

NOTE: Please send descriptions and results (including photos) from your successful basic observations
Operation RubyThroat via PROJECTS.

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