Feathered Friends in Flight

Author JL Huffman
3 min readApr 18, 2022

One day last April (April 13th), the ruby-throated hummingbirds and the whip-poor-wills returned. I wondered if it was a coincidence.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

On April 15, 2022, they appeared at our Blue Ridge Mountain home: the hummingbirds during the day; the whip-poor-will that same night.

Eastern Whip-poor-will

This sparked my curiosity about the two species and bird migration. The Audubon Society has a beautiful website and a great Twitter page, and both provide an abundance of information on our feathered friends.

Audubon Twitter Page

Last year I found an interesting website: BirdCast, sponsored by Colorado State University and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The site has live migration tools that allow you to see how many millions of birds are flying on a particular night. These maps predict nocturnal migration (three hours after local sunset with updates every six hours). You can even look at your local area to see if birds will be passing overhead near your city. In addition, particular articles address weather impacts on migration.


The ornithologists even have a Twitter page: Team BirdCast explains how they use radar to monitor birds in flights and discusses the impact of nighttime lights on migrating birds.

BirdCast Twitter Page

The hummingbird feeders are hung on the front porch and the back deck; they are already fighting for the nectar ports. And when the night chill isn’t too bad, the door is open, so I can hear the call of haunting call of the whip-poor-will.

A haiku I wrote about the whip-poor-will was accepted by Haiku Dialogue last year:

Whip-poor-will Haiku

What fascinating birds do you encounter in your yard?

You can follow the Author at her website or on Twitter.



Author JL Huffman

I’m a retired Trauma surgeon/ICU doctor, a world traveler and gardener. I’ve published in the surgical literature; now I’m writing poetry, memoir & fiction.