How to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around Miami

How to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around Miami

Photo courtesy of Canva

By Cynthia De Saint

February 16, 2024

Three species can be found in the Sunshine State. Although the ruby-throated hummingbird is the most common, according to the University of Florida, black-chinned and rufous hummingbirds occasionally can be seen during the winter.

They have long, slender, needlelike bills for reaching deep into flowers to extract nectar, and they dazzle in a glorious array of iridescent blues, greens, and purples. If you’re lucky, you just might catch a glimpse of them in your yard. But blink, and you’ll miss them. That’s because they not only fly really fast, but are also the only species of bird that can fly backwards!

We are talking, of course, of the enchanting, magical, hummingbird — the smallest mature bird with an average weight of less than a nickel.

They hover at rapid wing-flapping rates, which can vary from around 12 beats per second in the largest species to 80 per second in small hummingbirds. That beating gives them the distinctive “humm” sound audible to other birds and humans. Native to the Americas, they humm from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego.

And in sunny Florida, they can be spotted from March through September. In fact, three species can be found in the Sunshine State. Although the ruby-throated hummingbird is the most common, according to the University of Florida, black-chinned and rufous hummingbirds occasionally can be seen during the winter.

That’s because while plants and animals in the majority of the northern hemisphere are dormant or hibernating at this time of year, in South Florida they bloom with life and color. This attracts hummingbirds, who migrate to the Sunshine State happy to suckle from nature’s bounty.

Here’s your guide to spotting these elusive creatures belonging to the Trochilidae family in and around Miami!

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden

Created to harness the power of plants for humankind, Fairchild gets its name from one of the most famous plant explorers in history, David Fairchild (1869-1954), a renowned scientist who traveled the world in search of plants of potential use to the American people. Dr. Fairchild retired to Miami in 1935 and, in 1938, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden opened its 83 acres to the public for the first time.

Walk down any path in these spectacular gardens and you will see the lush greens, fiery reds, purples, pinks, and bright yellows of nature. And at this time of year, you can also catch a glimpse of a hummingbird visiting some of the nectar-rich flowers in the Garden.

But wait! You may be surprised at first if you don’t see their gem-colored plumage. Just watch a moment longer and you’ll see the dazzling array of colors glimmer in the light.

Located at 10901 Old Cutler Rd, Miami, the Garden is open every day, except for Christmas, December 25.

How to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around Miami
Photo courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden via Facebook.

Zoo Miami

A sanctuary for endangered, rare, and threatened animals — including tigers, crocodiles, and even Komodo Dragons — the Magic City’s reserve was rated one of the top 10 zoos in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.

Also known as The Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, it’s the largest zoo in Florida and the fifth largest in the United States, occupying almost 750 acres and 4 miles of walkways.

It’s also home to more than 2,500 animals representing over 400 different species, including howler monkeys, snakes, jaguars, and… yes! Hummingbirds!

As you walk the grounds, experience the lush flora growing throughout the zoo and gardens. And as you explore the wildflowers and medicinal plants, keep an eye out for the hummingbirds! They’ll flit, hover, fly, and appear when you least expect it, so better keep your binoculars handy.

Located at 12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, 33177, this is a great place to spot the jeweled bird in all its glory!

How to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around Miami
Photo courtesy of Zoo Miami via Facebook.

Castellow Hammock Preserve & Nature Center

City dwellers enjoy getting close to nature and its rejuvenating powers in this beautiful nature center named in honor of James S. Castellow, a citrus farmer who homesteaded the property in the early 1900s.

The 112-acre park and preserve contains a mature tropical hardwood forest with a half-mile self-guided nature trail and is popular with butterfly watchers, botanists, and — most importantly — birders! That’s because it houses a butterfly and hummingbird garden where you can observe the winged beauties in all their splendor. Visitors report spotting hummingbirds that normally are not seen in the Eastern United States, like the Buff-bellied and Rufous Hummingbirds.

Activities offered include nature tours, biking, hiking, and birdwatching, so you’re sure to catch a glimpse of our teeny aviary friends.

Located at 22301 SW 162 Avenue, Miami, the park’s overriding mission is “Connecting people and parks for life.”

How to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around Miami
Photo courtesy of Miami-Dade Parks via Facebook.

Chapel Trail Park Nature Preserve

It’s described as “the Everglades, but closer.” An urban remnant of the famous swamp surrounded by the city of Pembroke Pines, this park is great for viewing the same birds and wildlife you would see in the greater Everglades ecosystem.

Another place to spot the elusive hummingbird, this beautiful preserve has a 1,650-foot-long boardwalk stretching out over wetlands, a pavilion for observation, and canoe rentals on Saturdays. The vegetation is diverse, with Red Maple, Live Oak, Bald Cypress, Water Lilies, and wildlife, including birds, butterflies, dragonflies, fish, turtles, snakes, and alligators. Interpretive signs are found all along the trail.

How to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around Miami
Photo courtesy of Florida Hikes.

How to attract hummingbirds at home

If you have a garden, the simplest way to find or attract hummingbirds is to find or plant their favorite flowers. Plants with brightly colored–red, orange, pink–or tubular flowers will attract them like — well — hummingbirds to nectar. One Florida native plant known to attract the little hummers in South Florida is Firebush (Hamelia patens).

Another way is to place a hummingbird feeder in your yard. This article from The International Hummingbird Society will help you get started on your birdwatching adventure.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.How to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around MiamiHow to spot thousands of migrating hummingbirds around Miami

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CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY | NATURE
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