Do fledgling Ruby-throated hummingbirds begin their fall migration with their mothers in PA?

Asked June 11, 2018, 7:47 PM EDT

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!

Northampton County Pennsylvania hummingbirds hummingbird migration

2 Responses

It has been my experience that Hummingbirds will flock as they migrate, as groups are often found near food sources. If the chick was old enough to fledge it would in my opinion join a flock in the area and follow them on its long migratory path south for the winter.

If you find that birds are striking the same window, you may want to use curtains or film window treatments to help cut the reflection of the glass to the bird. See:

For more information relating to Hummingbirds:

Thanks, G.

Thanks very much, Dr. Martin.