Myths & Fallacies #1

The questions below come in part from visitors who leave messages on the Operation RubyThroat website. Please send your own questions to QUESTIONS, or post them on the Guestbook page.
1. I've heard over and over again that hummingbirds migrate on the backs of geese. Can this be true?
No one is sure where the "urban myth" about goose-aided migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) got started, but it's hard to imagine it could be true. Hummingbirds migrate under their own power just above the waves of the Gulf of Mexico (or just above trees when flying overland) while Canada Geese can migrate at 20,000 feet or higher. Hummingbirds certainly would not function well at that altitude. In addition, migratory geese heading south don't end up in the tropics; most stop instead along the coastal Carolinas, well north of hummingbird destinations. Perhaps someone merely supposed that a RTHU is incapable of long-distance migratory flight and assumed it had to hitch rides on bigger birds--just like folks used to believe that hummingbirds have no legs (see #3 below).

2. It makes sense to me that if I leave a hummingbird feeder up in fall it will discourage migration. Am I wrong about this?

3. What are some other hummingbird myths? (Part 1)

4. What are some other hummingbird myths? (Part 2)

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