This 3 ¾-inch-long garden jewel known as the ruby-throated hummingbird makes its home in swamps, woodlands, parks, and gardens in much of eastern North America. It is the only species to nest east of the Great Plains. Members of both sexes emit a soft tchew to alert other hummingbirds to their presence.
Males stake out territories at luxuriant stands of flowers or at feeders, where they aggressively defend against competing males.
Females construct elaborate, walnut shell-sized nests on slender, downward sloping twigs in trees or large shrubs.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird Migration
Rubythroats are strongly migratory.
Huge numbers of these birds can be found at favored car stopovers along the route, such as the Gulf Coast of Texas, where the natural geography concentrates migrants into a narrow strip of good habitat. The wintering ground is primarily in southern Mexico, south through central Costa Rica. In those places, they must compete with native species and other nectar-eating birds for abundant food.
Returning migrants often wing across the vast Gulf of Mexico. This arduous nonstop journey takes about 18 hours if conditions are favorable.
Hear the ruby-throated hummingbird: