The ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is the only hummingbird that breeds east of the Mississippi River. These bundles of energy must feed almost constantly to replace the calories their rapid metabolism burns. A dominant bird will vigorously guard a food source, dive-bombing other hummingbirds that try to feed. This activity is especially prevalent as fall migration approaches, possibly providing the added bonus of improving fitness. The long journey south often entails an incredible nonstop flight across the Gulf of Mexico.
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