Do fledgling Ruby-throated hummingbirds begin their fall migration with their mothers in PA?
15 years ago I found a dead RTHU female on the ground beneath a large window in the front of Lafayette College's Chemistry/Physics building. This is a regular occurrence with many bird species at this bank of windows. However, next to the adult with the broken neck, a fledgling hummer was quietly sitting on the ground, unmoving. On a whim, I put my forefinger gently under its breast and it stepped right up onto it and perched there, quite unbothered and still. Feeling that I was on a roll, I raised my finger up next to a nearby small tree branch and the hummer fledgling climbed onto the branch and sat there. Hoping that it would fly off south, I left it there and, an hour later, it was gone.
So, here's the question: Is my experience evidence that RTHU fledglings at least BEGIN their migrations with their mothers? I have been strongly assured by a few very opinionated birders that this is NOT the case, regardless of what I saw.
Thanks very much!
Thanks very much, Dr. Martin.