Hummingbirds

Asked June 5, 2019, 8:51 PM EDT

Do hummingbirds come back to the area they were hatched in? ( Kind of like salmon returning to the stream they were spawned in ) Last year we only had one red/gold male that did some interesting dances and had quite a few females and this year we have five red/gold males flying around. Any answers are appreciated.

Oregon wildlife

2 Responses

You raise a very interesting question. From my review of scientific literature, there's much we don't know about natal (where born) fidelity of many species of hummingbirds. I'm guessing that you're seeing rufous hummingbirds. I found 1 paper addressing such issues for the rufous https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10336-013-0971-2 From the researchers' and bird banders' results, I would say that you likely do have some of the same birds coming back to dance, compete for mates, and nest in the same area. The rufous hummingbirds we see are likely migrating to Mexico or as far as the SE U.S. for the winter. The migration itself carries many risks, and then they are dependent on habitat conditions (weather extremes, food availability, habitat loss?, other survival-affecting factors) once they make it there. So there is definitely potential for having "good" or "bad" years in terms of survival of both adult and juvenile birds --- and that affects how many breeding-season birds we get to see here each year.

Thank you for the response and link. I am guessing from reading that the babies do come back to the area they hatched in? If they learn from the adults and the adults come here year after year i imagine babies do too. I will watch for more gold/red little hummers next year. It would be awesome to have this determined for sure. I wouldn't be against a banding study on my property