We hadn’t given much thought yet to the arrival of hummingbirds for the summer (see Hummingbird Homecoming) until we heard local naturalist, Pam Randles, talking about bird migration on the local radio station. She said that, according to the most up-to-date tracking, the rufous hummingbirds are amassing near Canada’s Vancouver Island, readying for the trip north.
They are waiting, she said, for a good south wind to ride up the coast of Alaska. When they get one, they’ll arrive in about three days.
Many people believe a rumor that hummingbirds nestle into the back feathers of Canada geese to ride them north, as they arrive at roughly the same time. Ms. Randles joined a growing, but probably doomed, chorus of voices saying this is not true.
I forget his name, but I once heard an official with Alaska Fish & Game admit on a Juneau station that he had started the rumor. He told the story to friends as a joke, and it got quickly out of hand. It’s just too good to not be true, even though it isn’t.
Anyway, when I got up in the middle of the night Friday, the wind blew from the north, but a southerly swell crashed against our rocks. That meant the south wind built somewhere south of us, and would soon arrive. When I went back to bed, I mentioned it to Michelle. When we got up in the morning, she cleaned and filled the hummingbird feeders, and hung them in our usual places in the dooryard.
We figure the hummingbirds might arrive within the next three days. Likely, by the time they get here, they could use a drink.