MadSci Network: Zoology

Re: Is it true that hummingbirds ride on ocean liners to get to the south?

Date: Fri Sep 24 08:31:16 1999
Posted By: Kurt Wollenberg, Post Doc Genetics, North Carolina State University
Area of science: Zoology
ID: 936751541.Zo

For hummingbirds in the US east of the Mississippi River their normal fall 
and spring migration routes include a long overwater leg once they get 
south of Florida. The eventual destination for these migrants is South 
America and islands in the southern Carribean. These migration routes also 
coincide with many popluar cruise ship routes. So it is not that 
unbelievable that a weary migrating hummingbird would find a perch on a 
passing ship during the bird's trip south. Those birds that do manage to 
find a ship equipped with a feeder would stand a greater chance of survivng 
the migration south and reproducing (provided their nesting habitat hasn't 
been developed out of existence). 

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