Lots of animals make incredible yearly migrations, but few journeys are as astounding as that of the ruby-throated hummingbird. This bird, the size of your thumb, travels over 2,000 miles from Canada to Southern Mexico. It even flies over the Gulf of Mexico, which can mean 20 hours of uninterrupted flight!

This is even more amazing when you consider that a hummingbird’s metabolism requires it to eat almost all the time. Their amazing wing speed and maneuverability comes at a high energy cost. How do they do it?

Bill Hilton, voted by Discover Magazine as one of the “Fifty Most Important, Influential and Promising People in Science” for 2008, is working to band and track these tiny birds to learn more about them. Hummingbirds, he says, fly along ridge tops, just above the trees, to keep an eye out for food. And they stop to gather, he says, in Florida before they make the last long leg of their trek.

Your Hummingbirds Zoobooks focuses on the migration of the rufous hummingbird, another long-distance traveller, and you can compare their routes. And if you live in hummingbird territory, keep an eye out for them this fall!