Nowadays it is difficult to believe that folks did not always believe ruby-throated hummingbirds migrated. However, unbelievably, it would be safe to say that during the 1600s it was indeed the prevailing belief among the early colonists.
There is no better proof of this than the Pennsylvania Cylopedia published in 1651. This reference book states the lives of hummingbirds ended when the flowers stopped blooming in the fall. Faced with a lack of food, hummingbirds would then simply thrust the sharp bills into the trunks of trees. Here they would remain motionless throughout the entire winter. Once winter eased its frigid grip on the land and the rejuvenating rains of spring drenched the land, hummingbirds would miraculously spring back to life and fly away.
Whenever I read such a bizarre story, I cannot help but wonder how such a belief surfaced. Obviously, no one has even seen a hummingbird overwintering with its bill stuck in a tree.