During the past few days, the number of ruby-throated hummingbirds visiting our feeders has noticeably decreased. Whereas less than a week ago clouds hummingbirds were constantly swirling about backyard feeders, now a handful of birds are visiting them. Indeed, the hummingbird migration is in full swing.
When most of the birds vanish at the same time, it is easy to believe they migrate in flocks like robins, ducks, geese, and a host of other species. However, the truth of the matter is each bird migrates on its own. This means a rubythroat raised in your backyard this year does not have an older and more experienced bird to guide it on its first migration flight to its wintering ground in southern Mexico and Panama.
How is this possible? Biologists have still not unlocked this secret. Consequently, the best way to explain it is that hummingbirds migrate by instinct.