Why Birds Get Here Last


Map of 1st 2019 ruby-throated hummingbird sightings as of 11 April 2019 from Journey North

This time of year can be frustrating for Pittsburgh birders. Migration is underway and the “good birds” are everywhere but here. Why do we keep missing them? Is there something wrong with us?

It’s not us. It’s where we live. Sometimes the “good birds” get here last.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are a case in point. Their arrival is tracked every year on the Journey North website (screenshot above) where we can see what we’re missing. In the very warm spring of 2012 they arrived in Ohio and Wisconsin by the end of March but weren’t in most of western Pennsylvania in early April. Hummingbirds surrounded us but they weren’t here yet.

On Throw Back Thursday, see the 2012 maps in this vintage article: Why Birds Get Here Last.

Watch the hummingbirds approach on Journey North’s 2019 first ruby-throated hummingbird map.

p.s. Our definition of a “good bird” is part of our problem. The “good” ones are uncommon so of course they get here last, if at all.

(screenshot of first 2019 ruby-throated hummingbird sightings as of 11 April 2019 from Journey North)