We received word this spring from the National Banding Lab that a young male ruby-throated hummingbird banded at Powdermill Nature Reserve on September 18, 2014 was recaptured three weeks later (October 10) in Lake Jackson, Texas.
A journey of 1,425 miles in three weeks is pretty astounding when one considers that this male weighed in at just 3.5 grams, not much more than a penny. His wings measured 42 mm (a little over 1.5″).
The hummingbird’s wing beat has been measured at 50 times per second. Now we’re not sure exactly when he left our banding area or if he was caught the day he arrived in Texas, but if he used every day in the interval to fly south, he would have averaged 65 miles per day. Pretty impressive!
Once the data was collected in Texas, the bird was released and probably spent a few days fattening up for the next leg of its migration—a nonstop crossing of the Gulf of Mexico!
Powdermill Nature Reserve’s avian research center is part of Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s biological research station in Rector, Pennsylvania. The research center operates a bird banding station, conducts bioacoustical research, and performs flight tunnel analysis with the goal of reducing window collisions.