Sure, the title above might sound like the beginning of a Dave Barry column, but it turns out to be the answer to a question asked of Bernie Delinski, who writes the Just Ask column for the Times Daily in Florence, Alabama. Apparently, a reader had heard that hummingbirds ride geese in migration and wanted to know if this was true. Sigh…
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How can we know for sure though that it isn’t true?
It’s simply really hard to see a goose’s neck properly when it is migrating high above with a few fellows in v-formation. Those hummers could be lurking high up at several 1,000 feet and plunge-dive at the geese’s backs without anyone ever noticing.
I think we should forget about satellite telemetry and equip geese with digital cameras monitoring their backs during southward migration.
I meant “back”, not “neck”.
If Hummingbirds are passengers on Geese, are they still subject to the same rules and regulations we are as air passengers? Does the TSA confiscate tiny hummingbird size tubes of toothpaste before boarding a Canada Goose?
@Will- Not if the tubes are less than 3 oz.
Yeah…and other birds turn into mice for the winter. 🙂
Many people in the 1800s seem to have believed in the “Crane Express,” the idea that small songbirds rode on the back of cranes in order to cross the Mediterranean. [Here’s a recent post about it] I like the hummingbird/goose variation!
Over here in Britland we had the same thing about goldcrest (a kinglet) hitching a ride with woodcock, so much so that it got the name ‘woodcock pilot’. Actually I think that’s a neater take on the myth: a bit like the carrying bird won’t even find its way until it loads its passenger. I wonder if they had hijackers back then too.
@Andy Gibb: That is a great colloquial name!
@Peter O: Interesting…
@Susan Gets Native: And swallows hibernate underwater. 🙂
@Will and Nate: I heard that it is easy to get past security by bribing them with sunflower seeds.
@Jochen: Apply for a grant to study this situation!
I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Everyone has know for years that Storks carry babies as passengers and deliver them without any trouble. As far as I understand it – it is an international service that began hundreds of years ago. A little hummingbird would be a pushover by comparison.