Happy Monday and welcome to another edition of the Beyond The Forecast newsletter!
One of the surest signs of spring is the return of hummingbirds to our corner of the Commonwealth and we’ve started to see their migration north in the past few weeks.
For the purposes of this newsletter, we will be talking about the ruby-throated hummingbird, which is the dominant species for the eastern half of the United States.
The birds have been seen in Keeling, Blacksburg, Salem and Christiansburg so far. HummingbirdCentral.com reports sightings as far north as Pennsylvania and New Jersey and as far west as Texas and Oklahoma.
The hummingbirds are right on schedule as we typically see their migration into southwest and central Virginia in early to mid-April.
The Gulf Coast is the first region to see the birds migrate. That usually happens in early March.
New England, Michigan and the upper Midwest start to see them much later, which makes sense because those areas are slowest to warm up.
As mentioned, the ruby-throated hummingbird is the dominant species where we live, but there are other species elsewhere in the country.
Black-chinned hummingbirds are more common in places like Texas, Colorado and Utah.
Californians see a lot of Anna’s hummingbirds, a species named after the Duchess of Rivoli: Anna Masséna.
Pacific Northwest states like Washington and Idaho are home to the Rufous hummingbird.
A couple of states (Oregon and Arizona) offer the opportunity to see multiple species of hummingbirds, while others (the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, etc.) don’t see mass migrations of the birds at all.
Put your feeders out and let us know if you see any hummingbirds the next few weeks! You can report sightings to HummingbirdCentral.com as well.
Switching gears to your forecast, our recent warm-up is continuing into the first full week of April! Meteorologist Chris Michaels has a look at when the sunshine ends and rain and storms return in our daily forecast article.
You can always get specific forecast details for your zone, whether it’s the Roanoke Valley, Lynchburg area, the New River Valley or elsewhere around Southwest and Central Virginia, anytime at WSLS.com/weather. Know your zone!
In case you missed it, we’re posting great weather and science content on WSLS.com. Here are a few links from the past week to check out:
-- Justin McKee