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How fast do Hummingbirds fly? How long can they fly that fast? Do they migrate like other birds? Where do they migrate to? How long does it take them to migrate to their destination from Northeast Wisconsin?


Dick Montgomery


A Most of the North American Hummingbirds migrate. The ones that go the farthest are the Rufous and the Ruby-throat.  They may make trips to destinations which are as far as 2000 miles away.

The hummingbird you have in northern Wisconsin is the Ruby-throated.  This tiny bird migrates to Mexico every fall and returns every spring.  Before it leaves it eats a great deal and builds up a large fat supply to convert into energy as it makes the long journey.

Many Ruby-throats travels south  through the Florida peninsula, then island hop to Mexico. Others follow the Texas coast.  Though it has never been proven, many experts believe a large number of  Ruby-throats migrate straight across the Gulf of Mexico. In spring the birds probably follow the same route to come back north.

A Ruby-throated Hummingbird flies at about 27 miles per hour if there is no tail wind or head wind.  This would mean that long 500 mile flight across the Gulf of Mexico would take about 18 1/2 hours.

We don't think anyone really knows how long it might take hummers to get from Wisconsin to their winter home in Mexico.

If you want to speculate, calculating miles and miles per hour, take into account that hummingbirds apparently don't normally fly at night (as most other migrating birds do.) Also, don't forget that they may need to linger at times to feed and build up a fat reserve, so they can continue their journey.

To us, one of the most amazing things about hummingbird migration is the fact that, after that such a long journey, so many of them find their way back to the exact same location every spring.  We have, in Mississippi in early March, seen the first Ruby-throat of the year hovering at the exact nail where a feeder had been hung in the previous fall . 

Larry & Terrie




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