You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Science & Tech

  • Study: Coal removal harming fish, water
    In West Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains, fish are vanishing. The number of species has fallen, the populations of those that remain are down, and some individual fish look a little skinny.
  • Paralyzed hand movable with thought
    First they screwed the end of the gray cord into the metal silo rising out of Ian Burkhart’s skull. Later they laid his right forearm across two foam cylinders, and they wrapped it with thin strips that looked like old home movie film.
  • Inventor pushes solar panels for roads, highways
     SPOKANE, Wash. – The solar panels that Idaho inventor Scott Brusaw has built aren’t meant for rooftops.
Advertisement
Associated Press
Hummingbirds are migrating to North America earlier than in decades past, and research points to higher temperatures in their winter habitat.

Hummingbirds migrating earlier

– Ruby-throated hummingbirds are migrating to North America weeks earlier than in decades past, and research indicates that higher temperatures in their winter habitat may be the reason.

Researchers say the early arrival could mean less food at nesting time for the tiny birds that feed on insect pests, help pollinate flowers and are popular with birdwatchers.

“Hummingbirds are charismatic, and they do things that fascinate us,” said Ron Johnson, a scientist at Clemson University and one of the study’s authors. “They fly backward, and they hover, and they will come to feeders at homes so people can easily see them.”

Johnson and colleagues from Clemson; Taylor University in Upland; and the University of Nebraska last month published an article on the migration of the hummingbirds in The Auk, the Journal of the American Ornithologists Union.

The birds, which weigh little more than a nickel, fly hundreds of miles over the Gulf of Mexico from their wintering grounds in Central America to arrive in North America. The research compared data on their first arrival times from 1890 to 1969 with arrival times during the past 15 years or so.

The comparison found that the birds are arriving in North America 12 to 18 days earlier than in the past.

Jason Courtier of Taylor University said the historical data on hummingbirds is based on government surveys from about 3,000 naturalists around the country who recorded the first spring arrival time of bird species over the decades.

About 6 million such records exist and are being scanned into computer databases by the North American Bird Phenology Program. The research compared the historical documents with about 30,000 recent records on hummingbird arrivals.

James Van Remsen, the curator of birds at the Museum of Natural Science at Louisiana State University, said a wide body of literature shows other species of birds flying north earlier in North America and Europe.

Advertisement