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Hummingbird spring arrivals spark appreciation and pre-summer excitement


Whenever Nova Scotia Bird Association President Tony Millard goes on the Hummingbird Central website and sees the North American migration map and current path of hummingbirds, it connects him to one of the primary passions in his life.

"I am excited and almost all of the birders in Nova Scotia get really excited for migration time," said Millard.

The hummingbird is a very small bird that makes short hops during its migration up the eastern seaboard. Five hummingbird species travel to Canada, mostly from southern Mexico and Central America. The birds begin their journey usually in January, and fly by day at low altitudes, which allows them to spot food along the way.

"The instinct is amazing that they know where to go," said Halifax resident Michelle Brenton. "And it means spring is in the air."

Latest scientific research indicates a hummingbird can travel up to 35 kilometres each day.

However, the birds do face obstacles in their migration.

"The climate is changing, the world is changing and the migration patterns are changing because of that," said Millard, who added that the first documented hummingbird arrival in Nova Scotia this year happened earlier this week in Weymouth.

"That arrival is earlier based on historical data because back in 2000, April 18 was an exceptionally early arrival that year."

According to wildlife expert Hope Swinimer, hummingbirds are resilient and can make the climate-based adjustments needed each spring as they travel in massive numbers up the eastern seaboard.

"They are really extraordinary creatures, and the more you learn about them, the more fascinating they are,” said Swinimer who operates Hope for Wildlife, an animal rescue and rehabilitation centre in Seaforth, N.S.

"The birds can fly backwards, they can hover and they can do all kinds of things other birds can’t do and I think that is part of their beauty and charm."

It is that charm, said Millard, that causes many Canadians to appreciate their arrival each year as a signal that the warm season has arrived.

"They are a fun little bird, they are bright and exceptional and they generally brighten up your day," said Millard. Top Stories

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